Tag Archives: media

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

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Media Trends: Where they are now, and what to expect

Vocus, a company specializing in PR Management has recently shared their research on the media world and what to expect this upcoming year. From television, newspaper, radio and magazine specialists, keep an eye out for some of these interesting trends coming up:

Magazines:

As we all know, mobile platforms are fast growing and we can expect 20% of Americans to have a tablet such as Nook, iPad, etc. by 2014. Therefore, magazine applications will begin to explode this year.

Newspapers:

Hundreds of online news sites have been launched recently. Patch.com by aol have launched hundreds of their news sites this past year. New York Times has started the implementation of Paywalls where subscribers pay for their individualized news source. Additionally, a newspaper has come out exclusively to iPad owners called “The Daily.” Newsroom cafes are a hot trend we have also seen, allowing interaction between reporters and readers.

Television:

There has been a rise in early morning newscasts as well as growth in social media updates on our TV news sources. Broadcasters are also offering more and more iTunes apps to bring their news straight to you. Another trend to look forward to is 3D television. Although limited to certain channels for now, we can expect an increase in these three-dimensional options to fly our way.

Radio:

Radio is going mobile! With apps, podcasts and Internet radio such as Pandora and Last FM, radio listening habits are increasing. We can continue to look forward to bringing our radio with us while we aren’t listening in our cars.

7 Characteristics of the Perfect Social Media Manager

Social Media is always on the rise. There are many ways to use social media that can add to business development and sales. But social media is also very new. Even people that think they are good at social media don’t really know how to use it in a manner that will facilitate business efforts. Below you will find the 7 characteristics needed for a social media manager.

1. Passion

Because social media is a 24/7 type of job that you have to keep up with it is critical for social media managers to be passionate about social media. A passionate social media manager will generate sales yet not be direct about selling.

2. Credibility

Since the social media manager will be the face of the company you have to show credibility. People won’t just believe anyone especially when anyone can say anything online. So, as a social media manager you should have knowledge in business, marketing, sales and customer service.

3. Strategy

Sometimes the strategy isn’t well defined because of the fun aspect of social media. But as a social media manager you have to keep in mind the strategy you’re using and its purpose.

4. Service-orientation

As a representative of the company you shouldn’t see customer service as a bothersome task. Instead you should enjoy helping people with their problems related to your company. Most of the time people not only want a good company to work with or buy from, they also want good treatment which is where the social media manager’s job entails.

5. Risk-tolerance

Again, social media is a dynamic medium. No one knows the exact way of doing things. You just have to do it wisely and learn from your mistakes. Social media managers should be proactive and self-starters because their managers might not be able to direct them to the right path.

6. Decisiveness

Social media managers must know what trend is long lasting and which isn’t. With experience and knowledge they can make decisions that will positively affect their company. It’s also important to know the effectiveness of each strategy used. This way they can use that knowledge for future use.s

7. Action hero(ine)

In a changing business world you have to keep up with the news and distinguish between good and bad content. If you wait too long for approvals your never before heard news might become the played out headline that annoys people.

Vanityvids replacing Facebook pics

Vanityvid, a new Israel-based startup understood that sometimes profile texts and images can’t adequately represent you on your social networking sites, this is why they are allowing users the opportunity to replace their conventional images with videos.

Users that want to start recording or uploading their videos can do so on the Vanityvid website. If you want to see other users’ videos you must install a Vanityvid  browser add-on.

Vanityvid could definitely be used to transform a traditional social networking site into an exceptional social experience. Likewise, business professionals could also use this new tool to enhance their company or product branding. The possibilities are endless as the new technology begins to spread.

Recent Social Media Facts

If you’re still under the impression that social media is a waste of time, think again. 85% of sales managers believe that ignoring social media is actually the waste of time.

According to a recent study conducted by MoreVisibility (a leader in Web 2.o technology), about 85% of sales organizations have implemented a social media program, while 75% of them plan to further their efforts in the upcoming months.

Here are some other interesting findings:

  • 98% of businesses focus mainly on Twitter for their social media purposes
  • 96% of businesses use Facebook as a second social media source, and
  • 74% also use LinkedIn as part of their social media strategy.

Experts believe that social media hasn’t reached its full potential in the business setting. When asked how successful their social media advances had been so far on a scale of 1-5:

  • Over 8% rated their initiatives a five, which meant they were seeing an outstanding return.
  • 40% rated their program a four
  • 39% rated their program a three
  • 11% rated their program a two, and
  • 2% were completely dissatisfied with social media.

Of those companies that were implementing a social media strategy:

  • Over 70% spent less than $5,000 a year on social media marketing advances
  • 7.5% spent between $10,000 and $25,000, and
  • Only 5% spent more than $100,000 a year.