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A regularly updated resource of information and news items.

Archive for April 2010

Tories lead rivals in ad effectiveness stakes

Posted Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

BrandRepublic, 27-Apr-10, 08:52

The Conservative Party has achieved a higher level of consumer awareness of its marketing efforts than any of its political rivals, according to an exclusive Marketing poll.

When asked which party’s marketing they had seen most, 48% of the 2000 people surveyed identified the Tories. The party’s success in this area may be related to its £18m advertising war chest – the maximum allowed under election expenditure rules. It is a figure the other main parties have been unable to match.

The survey, carried out for Marketing in partnership with online market-research firm Toluna, found that 26% of respondents cited Labour‘s marketing as the most-seen. The  figure for the Liberal Democrats was just 18%.

Since the start of the year the Conservatives have run a series of high-profile outdoor ads, although one execution relating to the NHS was widely lampooned online amid speculation that the picture of party leader David Cameron had been airbrushed.

Almost a third of respondents (31%) said the marketing they had seen had inf­luenced the way they intended to vote, while more than seven out of 10 (72%) said they had seen general-election marketing over the past month.

The survey also found that marketing held more sway than the leaders’ debates. When asked whether the debates had a greater influence on their voting intentions than marketing, 47% of people said they did not, compared with 35% who said they did.


Newspapers: the future

Posted Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The way out of the paywall debate is for newspapers to become the online authority on what to buy and what to do

guardian.co.uk, April 12th 2010

Take a look at Google‘s homepage and compare it with any newspaper’s homepage. One difference is striking: www.google.com, the most viewed media output on the planet, contains no ads. And, unlike the newspaper industry, Google doesn’t have any financial problems.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Google understood that blindly converting its users’ eyeballs into money is not enough. The key is to develop a revenue model that makes the most of its unique advantage online. That advantage is being an online search platform, and the system it has developed integrates perfectly into that, by displaying relevant text ads for each search. Newspapers, by contrast, have tried importing the old media‘s ad revenue model to the web – and failed.

Online display ads don’t have enough impact on users to be attractive for advertisers, and therefore don’t generate enough income for publishers to sustain the newsrooms. This problem worsens as the print news industry generates less and less income, while people’s attention shifts more and more online.

In their despair, newspapers are now trying to copy another income model from old media – subscriptions. News Corp and the New York Times, for example, are at different stages of erecting paywalls around their sites. But it is not clear if users will be ready to pay for online news they are used to getting free. And this strategy will clearly reduce newspapers’ visibility on the web, both on search engines and on social media – while cutting revenues from the ad model.

The solution is that, just like Google, newspapers should invent a revenue model that utilises their unique advantage on the web: their credibility. So how can they make money from trust? From a reader’s point of view, the first step before buying a product or a service is deciding what to buy. The best agents to answer such questions online should be newspaper websites, as they have both the knowledge and the credibility.

Newspapers should be the online authority on what to buy and what to do. Not only is this their duty in our age of information overload, it can easily be converted into revenue. The first step, then, is to anticipate the user’s quest. Reviewing “best cameras under £300” is a good example. So is comparing coffee makers or reviewing the movies on release now. The second step is to create the copy and the web page that provides answers to the reader’s question. The third and last step is to link to product or service providers. The newspaper generates revenue when the reader clicks on these links (if using the pay-per-click model) or when the deal is completed (if using the pay-per-action model).

In this system every actionable article (a book review, a travel guide) should have links to enable relevant action. By clicking on them, the reader turns into a potential customer. This may be a new model for newspapers, but it isn’t one on the web. Sites such as cnet.com (technology) or tripadvisor.com (travel) have been doing it for a while with great success.

While newspapers have at most £10-£20 average RPMs (revenue per 1,000 pageviews), these sites enjoy £25-£40 RPMs or higher. And the advertisers love them. As they are heavily optimised for search engines, they are among the first results users see when searching for products. So these “vertical” sites enjoy a significant number of visitors from search. The first result when typing “best laptop” on Google, for example, is laptopreviews.org.uk – which then leads the user to retailers’ sites stocking the products they recommend.

Indeed, this model creates perfect synergy with the search engines. The roles are clear: the newspaper creates the credible research or review, the search engine sends the visitors, a contextual advertising program matches relevant providers/advertisers to the content, and all parties share the revenue. Readers are exposed to the relevant text ads as they pass through the newspaper‘s credibility filter, and are ready to make a purchase.

When searching for “best laptop” on Google, no newspaper is present in the first few results pages. Newspapers have the reviews, the writers, the credibility, the potential to rank high on search results – but they are not there. Too bad, because that’s exactly where the money is.


10 Branding and Marketing Trends for 2010

Posted Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Niels Bohr once noted that “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future,” but then he didn’t have access to predictive loyalty metrics. Happily, we do. And, as they measure the direction and velocity of consumer values 12 to 18 months in advance of the marketplace and consumer articulations of category needs and expectations, they identify future trends with uncanny accuracy.

BrandingStrategy, October 01 2009

Having examined these measures, we offer 10 trends for marketers for 2010 that will have direct consequences to the success – or failure – of next year’s branding and marketing efforts.

1) Value is the new black

Consumer spending, even on sale items, will continue to be replaced by a reason-to-buy at all. This spells trouble for brands with no authentic meaning, whether high-end or low.

2) Brands increasingly a surrogate for “value”

What makes goods and services valuable will increasingly be what’s wrapped up in the brand and what it stands for. Why J Crew instead of The Gap? J Crew stands for a new era in careful chic –being smart and stylish. The first family’s support of the brand doesn’t hurt either.

3) Brand differentiation is Brand Value

The unique meaning of a brand will increase in importance as generic features continue to plague the brand landscape. Awareness as a meaningful market force has long been obsolete, and differentiation will be critical for success –meaning sales and profitability.

4) “Because I Said So” is so over

Brand values can be established as a brand identity, but they must believably exist in the mind of the consumer. A brand can’t just say it stands for something and make it so. The consumer will decide, making it more important than ever for a brand to have measures of authenticity that will aid in brand differentiation and consumer engagement.

5) Consumer expectations are growing

Brands are barely keeping up with consumer expectations now. Every day consumers adopt and devour the latest technologies and innovations, and hunger for more. Smarter marketers will identify and capitalize on unmet expectations. Those brands that understand where the strongest expectations exist will be the brands that survive – and prosper.

6) Old tricks don’t work/won’t work anymore

In case your brand didn’t get the memo here it is -consumers are on to brands trying to play their emotions for profit. In the wake of the financial debacle of this past year, people are more aware then ever of the hollowness of bank ads that claim “we’re all in this together” when those same banks have rescinded their credit and turned their retirement plan into case studies. The same is true for insincere celebrity pairings: think Seinfeld & Microsoft or Tiger Woods & Buick. Celebrity values and brand values need to be in concert, like Tiger Woods & Accenture. That’s authenticity.

7) They won’t need to know you to love you

As the buying space becomes even more online-driven and international (and uncontrolled by brands and corporations), front-end awareness will become less important. A brand with the right street cred can go viral in days, with awareness following, not leading, the conversation. After all, everybody knows GM, but nobody’s buying their cars.

8) It’s not just buzz

Conversation and community is all; ebay thrives based on consumer feedback. If consumers trust the community, they will extend trust to the brand. Not just word of mouth, but the right word of mouth within the community. This means the coming of a new era of customer care.

9) They’re talking to each other before talking to the brand

Social Networking and exchange of information outside of the brand space will increase. Look for more websites using Facebook Connect to share information with the friends from those sites. More companies will become members of Linkedin. Twitter users will spend more money on the Internet than those who don’t tweet.

10) Engagement is not a fad; It’s the way today’s consumers do business

Marketers will come to accept that there are four engagement methods including Platform (TV; online), Context (Program; webpage), Message (Ad or Communication), and Experience (Store/Event). But there is only one objective for the future: Brand Engagement. Marketers will continue to realize that attaining real brand engagement is impossible using out-dated attitudinal models.

Accommodating these trends will require a paradigm change on the parts of some companies. But whether a brand does something about it or not, the future is where it’s going to spend the rest of its life. How long that life lasts is up to the brand, determined by how it responds to today’s reality.


 
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