Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Move to Online Advertising is Happening – but there’s a catch.

onlineadsDo you find online ads annoying or distracting? If so, you’re not alone! In a recent poll taken by LinkedIn Research and Harris, consumers are less than thrilled about the idea of online advertising. As a consumer, I dislike online ads that are flashy, distracting and pop-up over the content I am reading. But an increasing number of marketers are moving advertising spending away from traditional mediums to online.
The poll reported that 80% of consumer respondents find online ads that expand to cover their reading irritating. 79% said they didn’t like ads that were difficult to close and 76% don’t like pop-up ads. (Who are the 24% who do?) 66% don’t dislike ads that open when they mouse over them. 60% mentioned animated ads—either silent or those with sound—as distracting.
If consumers are so dissatisfied and irritated by these ads, why do marketers continue to use this approach?
Online ads are an important tool in a marketing mix and shouldn’t be used alone; they should be used in conjunction with other forms of advertising such as media, television and radio. They also should be targeted properly, so the consumer doesn’t get frustrated with the content and see it as a distraction.
Our suggestion is if you plan to use online ads as a form of marketing, be sure to do research on what your target demographic likes before initiating an online ad campaign that receives negative feedback.

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No Risk is the Riskiest Risk of All

riskyDuring this recession, many companies are cutting back their marketing budgets and becoming as lean as possible to stay afloat, but is this the right tactic?  Should businesses be taking risks or laying low?  There may be evidence that now is the time to be taking risks and making your brand known.

Big brand companies such as Toys ‘R’ US, Proctor & Gamble, and Fiat are taking advantage of the opportunities in the marketplace by purchasing competitors. Another big risk taker is Microsoft with the release of Bing, a search engine to compete with powerhouse Google.

Regardless of the size of your business, large or small, a company needs to be aware of the needs in the market and how to utilize the marketing budget to reach their target demographic.

Here are 5 quick tips from Jamie King, President of Euro RSCG Chicago, for managing your marketing budget:

  1. Prioritize your spending on the most important objective – spend on the objective that will pay off first.
  2. Don’t get rid of the discretionary budget line – even though it’s not of importance and can be done without, it may be the boost you need to take advantage of opportunities that arise.
  3. Own a space in any media medium – put your brand out there and make it known; whether it is radio or digital, etc.
  4. Use customers as advocates for your business – a high customer satisfaction rate leads to positive word of mouth for your business.
  5. Optimize all your assets – employees, company vehicles, your buildings, etc. are all a part of your assets; make them a part of your branding strategy.

Engaging your customers is most important and can be utilized effectively through social media tools such as Twitter and YouTube.  Remember, no risk may be the biggest risk of all.

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Filed under Economic Downturn

Do’s & Don’ts: Saving a Reporter’s Time

newspaperKaren Leland, author of Time Management in an Instant, talks in detail about how to use HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to promote your biz/cause.

Here are 6 tips she learned on how to respect a reporter’s time:

  1. Do: Respond to a posted inquiry within 2 hours. Yes, I know your busy, and you have a life, but most of these reporters get hundreds of responses to a single post and are usually on a tight deadline. After a certain point they stop looking. So if you want to been seen, be among the first to respond. Responding quickly helps the reporter get what they need as fast as possible.
  2. Don’t: Respond to a query that is past the due date with an email that starts “I know this is past the deadline but” To put it bluntly the reporter won’t care, they have more than likely already decided on their sources and you have just put another email they need to open in their in box.
  3. Do: Refer to the topic they are seeking information on in the subject line. For example: If the reporter says they want experts to discuss the mating habits of orangutans, in the subject line back write “Expert on mating habits of orangutans.” This makes it fast and easy for the reporter to  do a search through all their emails and find the ones that relate to the topic they are interested in.
  4. Don’t: Use an abstract or general email subject lines when responding to a query. Most reporters are working on multiple stories at one time, so a non-descriptive subject line such as “Response to your HARO query” is meaningless. Don’t’ make the reporter spend any extra time searching for which story you are responding to (and cursing) you for making  their life harder.
  5. Do: Give a reporter exactly what they ask for.  If a reporter says they are looking for tips on how to take a vacation in France on five dollars a day, send one or two of your best ideas and let them know there are more available upon request. This saves a reporter time, because they can instantly see if you have the kind of information they are looking for.
  6. Don’t: Submit endless paragraphs on who you are, and what you have done. It’s too hard for a reporter to glean from this if you would be a good source.

Check out the full report in the Examiner.

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Twitter 411

twitte-guide-bookHave you asked yourself the following questions:  “What is Twitter?” “What can it do for me or my business?” or “What the heck is the point of this free service?”  Well, the Twitter execs have come to your rescue with a useful guide explaining the ins and outs of the platform.  It helps teach the lingo, presents case studies, and outlines a quick-start guide.  Check it out here: Twitter 101.  Although it can’t alleviate all the problems and questions related to Twitter, it certainly is a good stepping stone for the service.

Mashable, the Social Media Guide has also taken part in helping the community understand Twitter by publishing their own Guidebook. Their publication covers topics such as the basics of Twitter, how to build your community, and Twitter for businesses among others.

If you are new to the Twitosphere or contemplating joining it, don’t feel overwhelmed or give up, check out the above mentioned free guides before completing writing it off.

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Coke’s Touch-Screen Machine

Coca-Cola is rolling out new, interactive vending machines across the globe featuring large touch-screens and Bluetooth capability.

The new machines look quite fun and engage the user with the brand beyond the 15 second transaction time of a typical vending machine. They certainly aren’t practical (think vandalism) and they are likely much more costly than a standard vending machine so wide-scale deployment is unlikely. They are being tested in Simon malls across the Southeast, so keep your eyes peeled – or have you already seen one, if so, let us know!

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Quick Tip: What Does the Customer Want?

B2B Customers want something they can takeaway from a purchase, website, e-mail blast, etc; something of value to them.  A takeaway is the lasting impression left on your audience after engaging with your brand, reading an email message or interacting with a customer service representative. A takeaway affects what steps they take next should be tied to your call-to-action.
According to Ardath Albee of the Marketing Interactions Blog, a good takeaway is:

  • Conceptual – generates an idea your content helped spark
  • Conversational – inspires sharing of that idea in the their own words
  • Recommendable – promotes people to pass the content along to others
  • Transferable – applicable to their own specific situations
  • Visual – something they can “see” happening—not pie-in-the-sky thinking

Remember, a good takeaway should focus on your customer, not on your business. Make sure you consider your audience’s needs, desires and perspectives in your messaging.  What lasting impression do you want to leave on your targets?

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Filed under Calls to Action, marketing basics