Archive for the ‘Mktg – Internet’ Category

Warning: Could be contagious !

March 19, 2013

Malcolm Gladwell gave us Tipping Point.

Now, Prof. Jonah Berger from Wharton hopes to catch a wave with a new book: Contagious: Why Things Catch On.

Berger says you need 6-elements – or STEPPS – to boost your odds of going viral:

  • Social currency:, It’s all about people talking about things to make themselves look good, rather than bad
  • Triggers, which is all about the idea of “top of mind, tip of tongue.” We talk about things that are on the top of our heads.
  • Ease for emotion: When we care, we share. The more we care about a piece of information or the more we’re feeling physiologically aroused, the more likely we pass something on.
  • Public: When we can see other people doing something, we’re more likely to imitate it.
  • Practical value: Basically, it’s the idea of news you can use. We share information to help others, to make them better off.
  • Stories, or how we share things that are often wrapped up in stories or narratives

One of the book’s examples is BlendTec – a blender company that we posted a couple weeks ago in an article worth reading (again): Marketing ROI: What you get for $300 million … and for $10.

For more, click to see a 15 minute interview with Prof. Berger.

Pretty interesting.

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Rapid response marketing: A snow day deal ….

March 6, 2013

Here’s an interesting play ….

Northern Virginia schools are closed today because of the threat of a snow storm.

So, Pizzeria Uno sent an email announcing a special “Snow Day Deal” … free meals for the school-cancelled kids … (with a matching adult paying full fare, of course).

 

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Question: Wonder if Uno’s will get sued if some jabrone drives off a slippery road coming to score some free chow for his kid?

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ESPN to sports fanatics: Get out your wallet … ESPN to advertisers: Get out your wallet, too.

June 24, 2009

Ken’s Take: It’s no secret that click through response rates to online ads) is miniscule.  A current hot topic is whether “engaged” or “attentive” site visitors are more ad responsive.  Conventional wisdom says ‘yes’.  If true, sites with engaged visitors should be able to command higher ad rates.

Couple that with longstanding wisdom that people take stuff more seriously when they pay for it. and you have a new formula for online profits: generate revenue by charging a subscription fee for site access, and sell advertisers on the notion that they should pay more for an engaged base of exposures.

Might work … if the content is powerful and the base of subscribers is big enough.

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Excerpted from Business Week, “ESPN Bets Sports Fanatics Will Pay for Online”, June 4, 2009

ESPN The Magazine, the decade-old print offshoot of Walt Disney (DIS)’s wildly successful cable sports network, is about to begin charging $6.95 a month for access to its Web site.

At a time when many media companies are merely jawboning about demanding fees from online users, this magazine is doubling down on it.

More broadly, such a move by a well-known name will plumb whether a paying customer equals a more enthralled customer—the term in the trade is “engaged”—and a more valuable target for advertisers as well.

ESPN The Magazine is well placed to test these waters. Rabid sports fans have bottomless appetites for sports info and the universe of data, jargon, and inside jokes surrounding it. 

“There is an audience that just loves games” and flits on and off sports sites only to grab scores, says ESPN.com Editor-in-Chief Rob King. But others “love the in-between stuff—the predictive stuff that helps them be smarter fans.” They’re the people the company is banking on. It also helps that many like to wager on sports, though ESPN doesn’t say so: When information can be translated into currency, people pay for it. Insider’s most popular features include data, tools, and deep-dig analyses geared to fantasy-league players and other stat geeks, and “Rumor Central,” which gathers and comments on sports tidbits from other media, such as newspapers and local call-in radio shows.

“Why is it, in this business, we are apologetic when asking [consumers] to pay for what we give them online?”

There is a a case that a subscribing customer is more “engaged” and thus more valuable to marketers than one who hops from one free site to another.

But, industry observers warn that it’s not a sure thing that an obsessive fan’s focus on ESPN Insider also means “there is more engagement with advertising.” That’s a debate that ESPN will presumably take up later, should it persuade more readers to pay up online.

Full article:
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_24/b4135072008154.htm?chan=magazine+channel_business+views

Google clicks for General Mills …

February 3, 2009

Excerpted from Brandweek, “General Mills: Google Ads Click for Nature Valley” By Elaine Wong, Dec 18, 2008

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As marketers question the effectiveness of display ads and their ROI value, General Mills is telling a different story. The packaged goods giant revealed the results of a partnership with Google’s Content Network and YouTube, where consumers were exposed to display ads for a Nature Valley contest … The ads resulted in a 525% sales lift and delivered more than 830 million impressions for the Nature Valley brand…

It was the largest in scale for General Mills as far as online efforts go. General Mills didn’t disclose the cost of the effort … I t spent $2.8 million in Internet display advertising during the period when the contest ran…

The company used Google’s ad technology, including display, YouTube in-video, text and search ads, to reach out to consumers. As a result, the brand saw a 1,050% lift in related search behavior and a 1,000 percent increase in Web site visitation among consumers who were exposed to the ads…

“The key takeaway is, when we gave folks who care about Nature Valley an easy and fun way to talk about and share their experiences about the brand, they jumped into it with both feet”…the campaign’s success lies in its ability to tap into “the affinities and passions of consumers,” who, in this case, were avid nature enthusiasts. “Obviously, they didn’t just build a granola bar web site. Instead, they leveraged the passions and interests that most aligned with consumers likely to interact with their brand”…

General Mills said more digital campaigns are in the works following this success…

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Full Article: 
http://www.brandweek.com/bw/content_display/news-and-features/digital/e3i213af1e960abb3d865852c02173d4c5e?imw=Y

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Do birds of a feather buy the same things ?

January 27, 2009

Excerpted from Ad Age, “Can Social Networks Predict What You’ll Buy?” by Abbey Klaassen, November 17, 2008

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Those stalking the social-networking field are betting that birds of a feather don’t just flock together — they buy together too.

There’s emerging evidence that mapping the online relationships among consumers…can be just as valuable as traditional targeting and segmentation in predicting how people will respond to marketing messages…

“It may well be that direct communication between people is a better indicator of deep similarity than any demographic or geographic attributes”…

In one way, the concept is almost the opposite of collaborative filtering. Instead of associating unconnected consumers through their similar preferences and behaviors, it associates consumers who are already connected and share values and beliefs, a concept called homophily

Several firms are hoping social-connection mapping will create a more valuable ad experience in social networks…

SocialMedia.com has developed a relationship-targeting technology called FriendRank using data from social-network applications…to construct a sense of where consumers’ strongest online relationships lie … It serves ads within social-network environments and incorporates the explicit associations between two people into its creative. A typical ad might have a call to action or question that is then sent to 10 of their friends. Should they interact with it, it will be sent to their networks, and so on and so on.

“Our thesis all along has been: Ads have to become social themselves…They can’t just be traditional web ads on top of social networks.”

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The influence of social networks on purchase decisions could provide significant insights to marketers and advertisers.  However, it is unclear how credible these start-up technologies are in their ability to predict the influence of relationships on purchases. A specific barrier that exists is in the tendency for social network users to “Friend” or “Link in” with many people with whom they rarely communicate, and thus are unlikely to influence or be influenced by.  Among the many firms that are analyzing this social network to purchase relationship, FriendRank seems to be on the right track of first understanding where consumers strongest relationships lie. 

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Full Article:
http://adage.com/digital/article?article_id=132582

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Online ads … customized on the fly

January 16, 2009

Excerpted from the New York Times, “Web Marketing That Hopes to Learn What Attracts a Click”, by Stephanie Clifford, December 3, 2008

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Online advertisers are not lacking in choices: They can display their ads in any color, on any site, with any message, to any audience, with any image.

Now, a new breed of companies is trying to tackle all of those options and determine what ad works for a specific audience. They are creating hundreds of versions of clients’ online ads, changing elements like color, type font, message, and image to see what combination draws clicks on a particular site or from a specific audience.

It is technology that could cause a shift in the advertising world. The creators and designers of ads have long believed that a clever idea or emotional resonance drives an ad’s success. But that argument may be difficult to make when analysis suggests that it is not an ad’s brilliant tagline but its pale-yellow background and sans serif font that attracts customers.

Adisn, based in Long Beach, and Tumri, based in Mountain View, are working both sides of the ad equation. On one, they are trying to figure out who is looking at a page by using a mix of behavioral targeting and content analysis. On the other side, they are assembling an ad on the fly that is meant to appeal to that person.

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Adisn’s approach has been to build a database of related words so it can assess the content of a Web site or blog based on the words on its pages.

Adisn then buys space on Web sites, and uses its information to find an appropriate ad to show visitors to those sites. If a visitor views pages about beaches, weather and Hawaii, it might suggest that the visitor is interested in Hawaiian travel.

Based on that analysis, Adisn’s system pulls different components — actors, fonts, background images — to make an ad. For example, it might show an ad with a blue background, an image of a beach, and a text about tickets to Hawaii.

Simple Green, the cleaning brand, began working with Adisn this year to advertise a new line of products called Simple Green Naturals.

“If it’s a woman looking at a kitchen with a stainless steel refrigerator, they can show a stainless steel product.”

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Tumri’s approach is slightly different. It creates a template for ads, including slots for the message, the color, the image and other elements.

Unlike Adisn, it does not buy ad space, but lets clients choose and buy space on sites themselves. And rather than building a contextual database, Tumri uses whatever targeting approach advertisers are already using, whether it is behavioral or contextual or demographic, and assembles an ad on the fly based on that information.

“It’s reporting back to the advertiser and agency saying, ‘Guess what? The soccer mom in Indiana likes background three, which was pink, likes image four, which was the S.U.V., and likes marketing message 12, about room, safety and comfort.”

Edit by DAF

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Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/business/media/03adco.html?_r=1&ref=media&pagewanted=print

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Marketing 101 … for Web 2.0

January 12, 2009

Excerpted from WSJ, “The Secrets of Marketing in Web 2.0” By S. Parise, P. Guinan, and B. Weinberg, Dec 15, 2008

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For marketers, Web 2.0 offers a remarkable new opportunity to engage consumers…But most companies still don’t appear to be well versed in this area. So here’s a look at the principles we arrived at — and how marketers can use them to get the best results.

Don’t just talk at consumers — work with them throughout the marketing process. A leading greeting-card company…set up an online community — a site where it can talk to consumers and the consumers can talk to each other. The company solicits opinions on aspects of card design and on ideas for gifts and their pricing. It also asks the consumers to talk about their lifestyles and even upload photos of themselves, so that it can better understand its market…the online community is much faster and cheaper than the traditional focus groups and surveys used in the past…

Give consumers a reason to participate. Consumers have to have some incentive to share their thoughts, opinions and experiences…One lure is to make sure consumers can use the online community to network among themselves on topics of their own choosing. That way the site isn’t all about the company, it’s also about them…Other companies provide more-direct incentives: cash rewards or products…Still others offer consumers peer recognition…recognition not only encourages participation, but also has the benefit of allowing both the company and the other members of the community to identify experts on various topics…

Listen to — and join — the conversation outside your site. Consumers tend to trust one another’s opinions more than a company’s marketing pitch. And there is no shortage of opinions online. The managers we interviewed accept that this content is here to stay and are aware of its potential impact — positive or negative — on consumers’ buying decisions. So they monitor relevant online conversations among consumers and, when appropriate, look for opportunities to inject themselves into a conversation or initiate a potential collaboration…

Resist the temptation to sell, sell, sell. Many marketers have been trained to bludgeon consumers with advertising — to sell, sell, sell anytime and anywhere consumers can be found. In an online community, it pays to resist that temptation. When consumers are invited to participate in online communities, they expect marketers to listen and to consider their ideas. They don’t want to feel like they’re simply a captive audience for advertising, and if they do they’re likely to abandon the community…

Don’t control, let it go. In an online community, every company needs balance between trying to steer the conversation about its products and allowing the conversation to flow freely. In general, though, managers believe that companies are better off giving consumers the opportunity to say whatever is on their minds, positive or negative…The more that consumers talk freely, the more a company can learn about how it can improve its products and its marketing.

Find a ‘marketing technopologist.’ So who should direct a company’s forays into Web 2.0 marketing?…We coined the term marketing technopologist for a person who brings together strengths in marketing, technology and social interaction…”someone with the usual M.B.A. consultant’s background, strong interest in psychology and sociology, and good social-networking skills throughout the organization.”

Embrace experimentation. One Web 2.0 strategy does not fit all…Blogs, wikis and online communities are among the tools that companies are most commonly using for marketing, but there are other ways to reach consumers…For instance, many companies have long used instant messaging on their Web sites to allow shoppers to chat with customer-service representatives…

Edit by SAC

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While the Marketing 101 principles are sure to evolve for Web 2.0 the above mentioned principles provide a good foundation for marketers looking to take advantage ever changing world of the web.

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Full Article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122884677205091919.html

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Price Wars on the Web

January 8, 2009

Excerpted from the New York Times, “Web Sites Wage Holiday Price Wars,” by Claire Cain Miller and Brad Stone, November 20, 2008

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Internet retailers, trying to navigate the first truly dreary holiday shopping season ever on the Web, are engaged in price-cutting and discounting so aggressive that it threatens their profit margins and, in some cases, their very survival.

Traditional retailers faced the same problem, of course, but the price-cutting is fiercest on the Web, where customers can easily shop for the best price with a quick search on Google or on specialized shopping engines like Shopping.com. Online, the competition is only a click away. For many Web sites, the discounts and price cuts are the only way to hold on to customers as online buying unexpectedly plummets.

The research firm comScore reported that sales growth on e-commerce sites slowed to a meager 1 percent in October compared with the previous year — the lowest rate ever for online retail and well down from the industry’s typical 20 percent gains.

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To preserve the sanctity of their brands and some level of pricing control, some Web companies are promoting discount sites separately from their main brands. Zappos.com, a shoe retailer never runs promotions on its site. Instead, it quietly moves shoes that do not sell in six months to 6pm.com, a clearance site it acquired last year, but runs separately. 

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Free shipping is also becoming a painful imperative for all e-commerce sites. Three-quarters of online shoppers say that they would shop elsewhere if a site did not offer free shipping. E-commerce giants like Amazon.com can easily absorb shipping costs, but small online vendors struggle. 

To exacerbate matters, a major expense for online retailers seems to be rising: the cost to advertise products on the search engine Google, the source of considerable traffic and visibility for most e-commerce sites.

Over the last year and a half, prices for text ads related to women’s fashion have quadrupled, say apparel retailers. In the popular gifts category, the price to advertise alongside results for common search queries like “gift baskets” jumped 50 percent from the 2006 holidays to 2007 and is expected to climb again this year.

Edit by DAF

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Full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/20/technology/internet/20slashing.html?ref=technology

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