Archive for the ‘Strategy’ category

Social Media Roundup (Interactive Musings 1.2)

June 29th, 2009

Last week I put together a summary of stories that I thought would be of interest to those who are in the interactive marketing industry.  Here are some other clips relating to Social Media that I think are interesting and informative.  Hope you enjoy.  Feel free to share and comment!

UniLever CMO Throws Down the Social Media Gauntlet
Takeaways from speech recently made by UniLever’s CMO about the importance of Social Media to brands. Includes his “5 New Rules of Marketing”. Great to see one of the world’s largest companies embracing social media.  I hope they can make it work!

Facebook Overtaking MySpace
Facebook is now the most trafficked global social network. Claiming 200 million users, it now reaches all demos and ages. Now it needs to figure out how to make money in a way that doesn’t infuriate its large and vocal community.

Facebook Grows Up Fast!
Glad to know that my group (26-44) accounts for 41% of all Facebook users. But surprised to find women over 55 are the fastest growing group on Facebook. Will being friended by your mom make you leave Facebook? Maybe… or maybe not. I think the new design is a bigger risk.

Teens on Social Networks
This just in: teens are heavy users of social networks! Okay you may know that. But did you know that 60% acknowledged that the things friends wrote in their profiles could harm their careers and that 38% said they regretted some of the items that had already appeared on their pages. Hopefully they will learn from public examples of how your personal views can blow up in your face… Like it did for this chucklehead!

Mommy Bloggers On the Rise! (AdWeek)
At the “Meet the 21st Century Mom” event, released results from a 25,000 person survey showing that 63% of women reported being active on social networks (vs. 11% in 2006).  Women with new babies cut back on media consumption by as much as three hours, with print taking the biggest hit. According to the report, 49 percent of respondents claim to read magazines less after giving birth, and 46 percent said the same about their newspapers.

How Edelman Manages Mommy Bloggers (AdAge)
Great interview with Edelman Chicago’s senior VP for consumer brands social media, Danielle Wiley on how they manage 2.0 digital (aka Social Media) practices and strategies for big name clients. I especially like their views on refusing to pay bloggers to write favorable reviews of their clients’ products.  I wish more agencies upheld the same standards.

Twitter Soars, but Does It Stick? (AdWeek)
Pop quiz – how many users will be on Twitter by 2010? Answer: a lot! The good folks at eMarketer report that 18 million of my closest friends (10% of Internet users) will be on Twitter by 2010 (read the article). If Ashton Kutcher has 1.5 million followers and Oprah is gaining ground with 700,000, the number may actually be higher. However… the jury is out as to how many will actually stay on Twitter. Nielsen recently reported that Twitter’s audience retention is only 40% – meaning more than 60% of its users fail to return the following month (read the article). So will Twitter last or is it a flash in the pan? I believe you can make a case for either outcome.

7 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid on Twitter
Good article by Rodney Rumford (hola So Cal!). Or you can eliminate the “don’ts” and learn 7 Tips for Succes on Twitter. Either way it’s a good way to learn how to use Twitter as a branding channel.

Be Careful What You Tweet!
You can’t help but laugh at the irony of this story. A social media consultant may have ruined his career with one errant tweet (if you haven’t heard about the FedEx / Memphis story, click the link above). The lesson: be careful what you tweet. Anything and everything you write is public, and it may be taken out of context.

All for now folks! Please share your thoughts, questions or comments. Just keep it clean and constructive. And if you like what you read, please share it with others!

Steve Latham
Follow me on Twitter
Find me on Facebook

Digital Marketing: Not Recession Proof.

June 3rd, 2009

Since the economy took a nose dive (with the biggest drop starting in October 2008) pundits have debated how it will impact advertising / marketing and the digital marketing sector in particular.  Some in my industry were brazen enough to proclaim we (digital marketers) would not be adversely affected by the recession as media dollars would shift to where to those channels where results and ROI were most apparent. I was hopeful this would play out.  In theory it sounded good! But reality is a different matter.

First, it’s very apparent that digital is not immune to economic downturns. While there are instances where some brands are following through and spending more online (at expense of traditional media), most have scaled back on display and other “advertising” channels, focusing on media that rings the register (e.g. search) and social media.  Generally speaking, when the pie shrinks, everyone’s piece gets smaller. And while some small shifts did take place, they were overshadowed by the rapid deterioration in results from online campaigns. Q4’08 and Q1’09 were tough times for DR-centric online marketers – when consumers stop buying it’s hard to keep your clients happy (even if you are outperforming other media).

We also learned Digital is often at a disadvantage because big advertisers can’t just cancel their contractual media commitments to traditional vendors. The downside to having an on/off button with your media is that when budgets have to be cut, it often represents one of the few areas where spend can immediately be paused. It’s not a good business practice, but by now we know that marketers don’t always do what is best for their brand (job preservation will always prevail over doing what’s right for the company).

However, I’ve always felt this recession would offer a silver lining for interactive and it’s starting to come true. Budget shifts are taking place, and even though it may take 6-12 months for the mix to change, we’ll see a higher allocation to digital in 2-3 years than we would have if not for the downturn. It’s hard to make big changes when things are status quo. One of the benefits of a recession is it forces brands to take drastic action, that is often required to make meaningful change.

This is the thesis behind my article “Silver Lining for Interactive“.  I believe my predictions will hold true and that the near term setbacks are going to be a blessing in the long term.

As always, I would love to hear what other marketers (traditional and digital) think, and how they view the changes that have taken place since 10/08. I hope to hear back from a few of you!

Steve Latham

Online Demand Generation – Strategy and Metrics

May 28th, 2009
Online Media Funnel

Online Media Funnel

Last week I spoke at the Online Marketing Summit’s tour stop in Houston on Demand Generation.  I was scheduled to speak in Dallas and Austin as well, but an unexpected foot injury / surgery sidelined me from travel.

At OMS I unveiled a new presentation that addresses the #1 objective of most marketers: generating leads, sales and other measurable results from online media.  The presentation “Online Demand Generation: Strategy and Metrics” is embedded below for your viewing pleasure; you can also find it on slideshare.  I started by defining “demand generation” (broader and more upscale than “lead gen”), the components of a demand generation program and various roles of online media. I also introduced engagement paths and the importance of defining the right metrics for success.

Also included is a practical methodology for measuring ROI and indexing performance against the market.  As a bonus, I also included my view of the 10 worst and best practices for managing campaigns (would really like your feedback on these!)

I hope you’ll take this information and use the insights to take your business or agency to the next level. And as always, comments are welcome!

Steve Latham

Business Case for Social Media

May 8th, 2009

Social media is hot. Everyone’s doing it and everyone wants it. But how many marketers have figured out how to use social media to build their brand and drive revenue? Unfortunately, not nearly enough. I believe one of the hurdles to pursuing social media as a marketing program is the challenge of creating a compelling business case that frees up the resources (budget) needed to fund it.

I recently spoke to a group of business executives about how companies are using (or planning to use) social media, and how to build a business case for it. In my presentation I also included some new data on how the Inc. 500 is using social media, 5 reasons to pursue it, and a methodology for measuring ROI.

You can view the presentation below or find it at slideshare (note: sorry for some of the formatting issues caused by slideshare conversion).

I hope it’s helpful and that you’ll provide some feedback for improving it. And if you have any good data points to support the case, please send them my way!

For more info you can use, view our blog. And for updates follow me on Twitter!

A GREAT time for Display Advertising! (?)

March 18th, 2009

With everyone professing the virtues of Search, I’d like to take a different view (as is my nature) and go on record stating that now is a GREAT time for cpm-based Display advertising. Why am I going against the grain on this one?  Since you asked, I’ll tell you.  But before I make my case, let me state that as an agency we have no bias towards any one type of media.  We always recommend paid search before display advertising.  But if you are suffering from a contraction in daily searches for your brand or products (as we are seeing across the board since 10/08), you probably need more reach, engagement, leads or sales.  So here’s something to think about.

First, this recession has forced advertisers to scale back on all forms of advertising and it’s widely reported that display advertising (banners, rich media) has been hit much harder than search, leaving a lot of unsold inventory.

Second, while Cost Per Action (CPA) deals are still competitive (maybe even more so today given the increasing focus on accountability) there is a lot of unsold inventory that is price on Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM).  Consequently, it has created a big opportunity to buy cpm media at much lower rates than in the past.  This has also been documented in recent months by many sources.  The price of display media is faling faster than the bubble teams in the NCAA.

Third, the drop in demand for display ads allows those who are advertising to have a much larger share of voice, and receive much more attention than in the past.  I don’t have any stats to back this up, but it stands to reason.  If you are the ONLY bank or car maker advertising, you have a pretty good chance of delivering your message now that there is much less competition and clutter.

Fourth, display media is cheaper and you now get greater visibility with your ads, you should see better performance.  It may not translate into immediate leads or sales (remember we’re still in a dark and scary place) but those who are in the market today and tomorrow are more likely to be influenced by your ads.  And that is the reason you advertise.

So if you are maximizing ROI from search and need more reach to make your numbers, look at display advertising.  P.S. – if you add display on top of search you’ll see a 20-30% improvement in conversion rates from Search.  So make sure you account for that when you are doing your display media planning.

Comments…. Questions….?  To quote the beloved Kramer (Seinfeld, not Mad Money) “Am I crazy or am I so sane that I just blew your mind?”

Online S&M (Strategy and Metrics)

February 8th, 2009

Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Online Marketing Summit’s annual conference in San  Diego.  In my presentation Online S&M (Strategy and Metrics) I focused on 3 things:

1. The need for an integrated, strategic plan (one-off efforts often fail)
2. A foundational approach to Interactive in troubling times (focus on tactics with highest ROI including site usability, analytics, search and email)
3. How to measure and assess performance (results, ROI). This includes a new approach to measuring your results against the Google index for your search terms (must read!).

While there were no standing O’s and cell phone waving, I received some great feedback and was quoted in B to B magazine.  If you couldn’t make OMS, or if you missed my presentation you can find it on Slideshare.

Feel free to share with others.  And please comment below!