Tag Archives: brand

Winning in the New ‘Marketing Democracy’

Imagine for a moment that you moved to a new home located right next door to a train station. It’s noisy at first. But after a while, you get used to the noise and barely notice it. That notion captures “exactly how consumers feel about marketing and advertising — as if it’s not even there,” said Tim Suther, chief marketing officer of Acxiom, the world’s largest processor of consumer data, at a recent Wharton Marketing Conference. Such consumer numbness has profound consequences — $112 billion in major brand advertising is wasted every year, while eight out of 10 online ads fail to reach their desired audience. “A truly awful, awful performance,” noted Suther.

With the right strategies, however, Suther said companies can successfully navigate this tumultuous world to reach their target customers. He cited a few of the most well-known strategies. For one, they should personalize their marketing to consumers instead of blasting them with broadly targeted ads. They should also identify those customers who spend the most money on their products and services, and invest more in marketing directly to them. Companies should craft a multidimensional profile of their customers, Suther advised, looking not only at what they are buying, but also what they are thinking and how they are behaving online. Moreover, companies should better coordinate their different sales channels to deliver a seamless experience for the customer wherever he or she chooses to shop.

“Einstein famously said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result,” Suther said. Likewise, companies need to begin thinking differently about how they do marketing, especially in an increasingly connected world. With the expansion of sales and media channels, consumers can shop online using their computers or phones or make traditional bricks-and-mortar store purchases. This increased number of options presents marketers with tremendous opportunities to understand and reach the right audience — if they are savvy enough to do it correctly. “Those [consumers] who engage in multiple forms of media or channels are four to five times more valuable” than those who only participate in one, Suther noted — yet two-thirds of senior executives do not have insight into their consumers across all of these channels. For instance, while people spend 42% of their media consumption time online, advertisers shell out only 11% to 12% of their total advertising budgets on the web.

For marketers, the stakes have never been higher, especially in a world where, via the Internet, consumers can instantly judge a company and convey their opinions to fellow shoppers. This “consumer-to-consumer” trend is a “powerful force affecting the business of advertising and marketing,” and has created what Suther refers to as a “marketing democracy.” “Elections, if you will, are being held every day. Consumers are voting … and they are determining winners and losers. You’ve got to pay attention to this, because they will vote you out of office.”

Suther, who joined Acxiom in 2005 and became an officer in 2007, is responsible for the company’s product marketing, communications, sales support, strategy and business development efforts. Previously, he served as a senior vice president at Metavante, a banking and technology solutions firm, and as president of Protagona Worldwide, a marketing software company. He has a degree in finance and marketing from Loras College in Iowa.

So how can a company fine tune its marketing? The first step, according to Suther, is reaching and engaging the firm’s target customers. The company needs to know who its customers are and what their needs are. “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get,” he said, quoting from the movie Forrest Gump. “A lot of marketing and advertising is like that. If you don’t know who is on the other end of the equation, you’re going to have a very nasty problem.” Marketing efforts may be over-invested in relationships of low value and underinvested in those with high value. About 20% of a company’s customers bring the greatest portion of profits, Suther noted, while about half are only marginally profitable. Dividing customers into these groups and marketing appropriately to them makes a material difference in performance. “The future of marketing and advertising will be about reaching just those customers who are likely to drive the maximum value to your organization.”

Second, companies need multidimensional insight into their market. While some firms rely mostly on past purchases or online behavior in determining buying patterns, Suther said there are pitfalls in relying on only one facet of a customer. “If you’re relying just on a single dimension [of a consumer], you’ll get it wrong. You need to have a multidimensional view.” That means taking into account consumer action in different sales channels, behavioral changes over different life stages and other external information. It is a complex process with “no silver bullets.”

The third facet of smart marketing is best shown by what Suther considers “the greatest marketing movie of all time,” Groundhog Day. In the movie, Bill Murray plays a character who relives the same day endlessly and learns as much as he can about the people around him so that he can anticipate their needs the next time he sees them; his tireless work gets him the girl of his dreams.

“Remember me [i.e., the customer] and treat me like a friend. Wherever you see me, anticipate my needs and what I don’t need,” Suther said. “The notion of remembering every interaction and learning [from it] is an important part of being a marketer.” Once a company collects all the insights it has gathered about a particular customer, and implements a marketing plan, the firm then arrives at what Suther referred to as “the moment of truth: Getting [the plan] right can drive a five- to 10-fold return on investment.”

According to Suther, companies should deploy a strategy that encompasses all facets of smart marketing. By doing so, a firm will be able to reallocate 15% to 30% of its marketing budget into higher-performing options; such changes lead to real profits, he said. For example, a major global technology company looked at the pattern of calls coming into its call centers. Many of the calls were questions that the company’s online FAQ section could answer, or orders too small for sales representatives. The company ended up sending out a personalized newsletter to fill information gaps, and it enabled electronic handling of the small orders, saving money and boosting profits.

The economic benefits of smart marketing are real, but there are real-life roadblocks, Suther warned. Changes aren’t easy to implement when employees are used to the status quo. “Your [ad] agency of record will be all over the persona of your customers, while those in digital will be exclusively focused on digital. If you rely on just one of those dimensions, you will get it wrong.” He advised firms to find a way to help both sides collaborate more closely. In addition, senior management often can be impatient about the payoff of such changes and put pressure on the person who recommended the new policies. “It’s really important to show results along the way. [We advise doing] that every three months or so to remind those who you have convinced about your noble ambitions that you are making progress against that investment.”

In the end, the hard work of navigating the new world of advertising will be worth the trouble, according to Suther. Paraphrasing a famous quotation from the 1949 film The Third Man, Suther noted that, although Italy suffered constant warfare and bloodshed for 30 years under the Borgias, that era also gave birth to Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. “The point of all the tumult that exists in the marketing and advertising world is that goodness will come out,” Suther said. “We will have our Renaissance.”

Article courtesy of: The Knowledge Behind The News

Ford Regains Top Spot Among Most-Considered Auto Brands

According to the latest Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence Brand Watch study, Ford is back on top as the most-considered auto brand among new-car shoppers. Ford consistently captured the most-considered auto brand title from Q4 2009 through Q2 2010, but momentarily fell to the No. 2 spot for Q3 2010 when Toyota re-captured its previously held most-considered brand status for that quarter.

However, as Toyota works to rebuild its brand following last year’s recall crisis, it continues to see fluctuating consideration and currently resides back at No. 2.

In addition to being the most-considered auto brand overall (regardless of segment) for Q4 2010, Ford has been the highest-considered brand within the truck segment for nine consecutive quarters. Currently, Ford is the most-considered brand in the non-luxury SUV/CUV segment, and continues to gain ground quarter-over-quarter in the non-luxury sedan/coupe/hatchback segment.

For the latest Q4 2010 Brand Watch study data, Ford is back on top with a significant lead over the competition (at 29%), while Toyota and Chevrolet tie for second place (22% each) and Honda finishes third (21%). Rounding out the most-considered among the 37 new-vehicle brands tracked in the Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence study are Nissan at fourth (13%), with Hyundai and BMW tying for fifth place (11% each).

“Ford’s revamped product offering, strong business strategy and clever marketing have helped to lead it back to a position of prominence in the minds of new-car shoppers,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’skbb.com. “With enticing products offered in nearly every new-car segment, and an emphasis on forward-thinking technology like SYNC and MyFord Touch, Ford is dominating the shopping lists of many new-car buyers and has a real opportunity to turn this consideration into more dollar-signs. Kbb.com shoppers’ opinions and behaviors are leading indicators of future new-car sales patterns, so with the latest Brand Watch study results, we expect to see continued good news for Ford throughout the year.”

Specific to the non-luxury sedan/coupe/hatchback category, Honda received the highest consideration, followed closely by Toyota in second place and Ford in third place. In addition, Ford continues to improve in this segment each quarter. Following Ford are Chevrolet, Hyundai and Nissan, respectively. From Q3 2010 to Q4 2010, Hyundai’s consideration dampened slightly among non-luxury sedan/coupe/hatchback shoppers.

In the non-luxury SUV/CUV segment, Ford has regained the highest consideration within this category and has a good lead over the next competitor Toyota, followed by Honda and Chevrolet, respectively.

Specific to the luxury sedan/coupe/hatchback segment, BMW continues to maintain the top spot for consideration in Q4 2010, followed by Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Audi and Cadillac, respectively. Lexus consideration within this segment has been on a gradual decline since Q4 2009.

In contrast, Lexus remains the most-considered brand in the luxury SUV/CUV segment for Q4 2010. Following Lexus for top consideration of luxury SUV/CUVs are Cadillac, Acura, Lincoln and BMW.

Honda continues to remain the most-considered minivan brand for the past 12 quarters, followed by Toyota, which also held the No. 2 spot for the past 12 quarters.

As previously mentioned, Ford continues to remain the most-considered truck brand for nine consecutive quarters, followed by Chevrolet, which has held the No. 2 spot for the same amount of time.

(Source: Kelley Blue Book, 03/10/11)

Link Requesting

SEO Professional

If you contact the webmaster of a site as an Internet marketing specialist or other SEO professional they will think you’re getting paid for doing so, which encourages them to ask you for money.

Beware of forming a bad relationship with the webmaster because it can reflect on the way they’ll view your company. But if you form a good relationship they can be your best friend as they can secure links for you in the future.

Client

It’s best to get an e-mail address for your client’s domain with your name. Another option is to use their brand name with a free e-mail account like yahoo.

These e-mail addresses will help you form a good image with official sites like .edu and .gov.

Brand Advocate

You can also contact webmasters as a fan of the brand. E-mail them stating that you like their website but that they forgot to mention your favorite brand. Hopefully they’ll take you seriously and add it onto their list.