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TV, online to remain strong in 2012 slowdown

MagnaGlobal has released its updated 2011 US Media Owners Advertising Revenue Forecast, which remains unchanged at 1.6% growth, including the impact of political and Olympics (P&O) advertising. Magna still expects media suppliers to generate $173.5 billion of ad revenues in 2011. However, due to persistent weakness in the US economy, the 2012 growth forecast has been revised down from 4.8% to 2.9%–including P&O.  A slowdown in real personal consumption expenditures, manufacturing activity, and ongoing problems in the labor and housing markets all contribute to the revised outlook.

Excluding direct marketing components, the revenue growth of core media categories is estimated at 2.9% in 2011 and 4.3% in 2012.

For the Local Mass Media category (local Radio, local TV, local Newspapers and Outdoor media), declines are expected through the second half of 2011 and into 2012. They now expect this segment to decline -1.1% in 2011 and -0.4% in 2012, driven primarily by weakness in Newspapers (-5.5%), while Radio will be flat (-0.4%), and Outdoor should grow 4.2% in 2011 and 4.5% in 2012.

TV will be the fastest growing medium after Online in 2012, with ad revenues increasing 7.1% compared with Online’s 11.6%. Magna believes the 2012 Elections and the Summer Olympics will generate incremental revenue of $3.1 billion for television: $2.5 billion in political advertising (the highest spending ever, mostly on local broadcast television) and $633 million around the London Olympics (up 5.5% compared with Beijing 2008, and primarily fuelling National Broadcast TV revenues).

Under the current expectations of a slow-but-positive economic recovery in 2012, media suppliers’ advertising revenues will continue to recover from the severe recession of 2008-2009. MagnaGlobal expects revenues to reach $178.5 billion in 2012, which is still significantly less than the pre-recession level of 2007 ($206.1 billion).

Direct Media is exhibiting an increasing discrepancy between traditional activities (Directories and Direct Mail) and digital (Internet Yellow Pages, Paid Search, Lead Generation). Traditional direct media remains significant ($26.2 billion in 2011), but it is increasingly challenged by digital alternatives. Digital direct media, on the other hand, continues to outperform. Paid Search growth has accelerated this year to 21.7%, and is expected to maintain double-digit growth in 2012 (13.0%). Recent algorithm improvements have helped accelerate cost-per-click trends and have led brands to rely more heavily on search engine marketing and search engine optimization. So, for 2011, they now expect $31.1 billion in total online ad spend, up 19.5% vs. 2010.

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

Online vehicle shoppers turning toward the phone

Believe it or not, trends going on in the automotive buying process are leading more towards consumers picking up the phone to contact dealers directly.

It seemed for a while that the internet would ultimately take over the car buying industry but over time, dealers have been too slow responding to leads and therefore training customers to call and complete their business over the phone or in person.

A study done by ADP Digital shows that dealers get 10 phone calls for every two internet leads, when a year ago the same statistic was seven phone calls per every two leads. Also, over the past 10 months, 2 percent of visitors have asked to be contacted  on dealer sites, whereas in 2007, the rate was 4 percent.

Phone calls are becoming shoppers initial contact because they have already researched what they needed to and are now informed and ready to be taken through the buying process by a professional. Professionalism is judged better via telephone or in person rather than by email or other means over the web.

Jefferson, the director of Internet and training for the Proctor Dealerships of Tallahassee, tells his salespeople to focus on getting timely and quality responses out for every 600 to 700 internet leads they get monthly. He says, “Tell them what you can do, not what you can’t.”

(Source: Automotive News, 5/16/11)

Online Advertising Surpasses Newspapers

According to recent statistics from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, US marketers spent more money advertising online than in newspapers in 2010. This past year also marked the first year that online readership surpassed print readership in the US.

Total newspaper spending declined 6.6% to $25.7 billion including both print and online editions. On the contrary, online ad spending in the US continues to increase and is expected to reach $28.5 billion at years end.

View graphs and original article here.