Random Acts of Progress

Internet Marketing as Elder Wand: The Internet is the most powerful marketing tool ever created – that is, if a Marketing Wizard can wield it

Posted on

Ah, the magic wand of Internet marketing. In the world of Harry Potter, the Elder Wand was supposed to be the most powerful wand ever created. In the hands of someone like Dumbledore, the Elder Wand was a powerful force for good. In the hands of evil Lord Voldemort, it would be a weapon of mass destruction.

Internet marketing like the Elder Wand

Most wizards, including Internet marketing wizards, though, are neither Dumbledore nor Voldemort. Most wizards are well-meaning, but mediocre, less like heroes and more like Ronald Weasley. In the hands of these wizards, the Elder Wand was just another tool, not better or worse than any other wand. And so it can be said about Internet marketing wizards.

Internet marketing wizards

For Internet marketing professionals, the Internet is the Elder Wand. It is the most powerful Internet marketing tool ever created – that is, if a marketing wizard can wield it. For creative agencies like Wieden + Kennedy, who unleashed the viral Old Spice ads upon the online world, the Internet is a well-oiled machine responding easily to the most subtle guiding touch. For other agencies and companies, the living dinosaurs of their respective industries, understanding how to make an Internet marketing campaign go viral on Facebook or Twitter is like Ron Weasley trying to wield the Elder Wand.

Internet marketing Elder Wand

The trouble these agencies have with Internet marketing can be divided into two broad categories: first, the Internet has fragmented consumer attention, and second, successful internet marketing means a two-way dialogue rather than a one-way soliloquy.

Internet marketing challenge = fragmented consumer attention

Prime time commercial TV spots on NBC, ABC, and CBS used to have a guaranteed audience. If a company ran the same ad for long enough during the Nightly News, soon the whole country would be humming the ad jingle. Today, with nearly 34 million owners of TiVo and other DVR services now recording their shows and fast-forwarding through the commercials, while other television consumers stream shows through their laptop, that ubiquitous jingle-humming is much harder to achieve.

Compare TV and Internet marketing

Harder to achieve, yes, but not out of reach. The Internet has shattered the easy dominance of mass marketing channels, particularly the two giants of the field – television and newspaper. Knowing this, creative agencies can no longer rely upon a single television ad or group of ads to spread their marketing message. Instead, their success depends upon customizing their message in such a way that it gains a following via Internet marketing; on YouTube, spreads across Facebook, catches the attention of bloggers, and ends up with links from tweets.

creative Internet marketing opportunities

On the one hand, the Internet provides the professional marketer with a dream come true: the Internet gives access to very particular demographics, with an ability to track precisely the responses of those demographics. On the other hand, the sheer number of marketing channels available through the Internet makes connecting with target audiences more daunting than ever. That is – if you are the marketing equivalent of Ron Weasley. If you are Dumbledore, these various channels represent new playgrounds of unprecedented creative Internet marketing opportunities.

Internet marketing challenge

Internet marketing challenge = 2-way dialogue

Facebook Internet marketingDavid Kilpatrick’s new book, The Facebook Effect, begins with a story of an unlikely viral Internet marketing phenomena. Oscar Morales, engineer and self-described “computer addict” in a small town in Colombia, decided to make a new Facebook page railing against the Colombian rebel group, the FARC. Kidnappings by the FARC are so common that Colombia has a nightly radio show designed to reach the jungle-bound hostages and give them hope. Each evening, families of those held captive line up outside the radio station in Bogota, hoping to send words of encouragement through the airwaves to their loved ones.

You know you have a kidnapping crisis on your hands when you have an entire radio show dedicated to kidnap victims, and Morales was fed up with it. His anti-FARC page attracted 1,500 Facebook friends in less than 24 hours. In one month, the group organized a worldwide march against the FARC, which drew the participation of 10 million in Colombia, and another 2 million worldwide (Source: The Facebook Effect).

mastering the art of Internet marketing

Internet marketing challenge = mastering the art of discussion

Every business wants the kind of Internet marketing results that Morales achieved with no money and hardly any effort. To do so, however, they must make a fundamental paradigm shift. For decades, they’ve only spoken at consumers; to succeed today, they have to speak with consumers.

Internet marketing 101

Morales hit a nerve with people; he opened up a topic people wanted to talk about. Instead of backing away from a free form, unmoderated conversation with customers, companies have to master the art of having that discussion while still setting the tone.

The great difference between the Elder Wand and the Internet is that there’s only one owner of the Elder Wand at any one time, but multiple Internet marketing wizards can wield the wand of the Internet with equally amazing results. It’s not luck that makes an Internet marketing campaign go viral; it’s talent.

Internet marketing IS THE Elder Wand

The Internet as Elder Wand: It’s the most powerful Internet marketing tool ever created – that is, if a Marketing Wizard can wield it – Another powerful article on Internet Marketing from 4thWeb.

Random Acts of Progress

Marketing in the Future is like Sex: Only the losers will have to pay for it [Web Marketing]

Posted on

To traditional advertising agencies, staring into the face of the world of Internet marketing must be like looking into Godzilla’s gaping maw. Already, Godzilla has gobbled up newspaper advertising: PricewaterhouseCoopers reported in June 2010 that the Internet passed newspapers by as the second-largest advertising medium in the US.

Internet Marketing GodzillaWith Newspaper’s bloody guts strewn across the walls, Television must now be screaming. Godzilla already ate Television in the UK; if new-school creative agencies have anything to say about it, Television as a primary advertising venue will be the next morsel on Godzilla’s menu.

Internet Marketing Thought Leaders

Just like a damsel in distress, Andy Nibley, former CEO of old-school ad agency giant Marsteller, cried out, “First the news business, then the music business, then advertising. Is there any industry I get involved in that doesn’t get destroyed by digital technology? (Source: New York Observer).

“Marketing in the future is like sex,” Jon Bond says, the cofounder of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners. “Only the losers will have to pay for it ( Internet Marketing ).” (Source: MissionParadox).

What Jon Bond understands about Internet Marketing might be what Andy Nibley realized too late. In a marketing environment in which “going viral” is the catchphrase of the day, the Mad Men-style agencies of yesteryear don’t move fast enough to keep up.

Think of the old-school advertising agencies being like the Soviet army. They’ve got the money, the tanks, the manpower. Now think of the new-school, internet-savvy, Facebooking, YouTubing, blogging creative companies like the mujaheddin. They travel light. They know the terrain. They can ambush a tank with an IED and slip back into the village undetected before the Soviet general can even finish scratching his goatee in confusion. They’re best-suited to excel at Internet Marketing.

[4thwebvids video=”2Q2OlqsknXI” embeddedHeight=”295″ embeddedWidth=”480″ autoplay=”false”]

In the brave new world of Internet Marketing, all the money, Hollywood talent, and professional film studios in the world can’t compete with a clever, low-budget YouTube video that goes viral. The new-school Internet Marketing troops are natives to the online terrain; while old-school ad agencies continue to spend millions on prime time TV spots that Tivo users fast-forward through, new-school Internet Marketing troops spend just thousands on online videos that they can tweak and send out to hundreds of distribution channels. One creative online video that goes viral will capture more eyeballs than a typical TV commercial ever could.

The result of all this YouTube, social marketing and Internet marketing cleverness is that a bunch of 30-somethings wearing jeans and baseball caps are making the suits on Madison Avenue feel like they belong on AMC.

Internet Marketing: Google is My… Frenemy?

It’s not just the kids in jeans making the Mad Men feel a little stupid. In a “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” twist, it’s the software itself that’s out-dating the agencies. With a few lines of copied-and-pasted code into the header of their HTML, any Joe Schmo website owner can track visitor statistics like an expert.

Tracking software like GoogleAnalytics, together with the powerful tools offered advertisers in AdWords, take away the need for expensive “market analysis” that ad agencies used to get paid big bucks for. With the few clicks of a button, Google’s software tells advertisers exactly which keywords they should use, then with a few more clicks it they can see which ads led to sales and which didn’t. There’s no more need to say “Mention this ad for 10% off” as a way of tracking the ROI of advertising dollars; Google tells you – and it tells you for free.

Internet Marketing: Let’s be Friends Forever

Facebook

Google might be the undisputed king of the Internet hill for now, but don’t expect it to last once the slightly Napoleonic Mark Zuckerberg’s plans for world domination go into full swing. Founding Facebook from his Harvard dorm room back in 2004, his social networking website actually overtook Google as the most popular website in America for the first time in the spring of 2010 (Source: TechCrunch.

Zuckerberg was named Time’s “Person of the Year” for 2010 for a good reason: social media, social media marketing and Internet marketing are completely changing the world. Railroad networks in the 19th century changed the face of commerce and human interactions forever; social networks are doing the same thing in the 21st century. Nowadays, companies don’t list their website address at the end of a TV commercial, they list their Facebook address.

The creative agencies who know how to leverage Facebook, Yelp, Endgadget, YouTube, and other social media sites to make marketing efforts go viral are the agencies that will make money for their clients and tame the Godzilla-like world of Internet Marketing.

The creative agencies that don’t know how to do Internet Marketing…? Well, maybe AMC will do a casting call soon for the next season of Mad Men.

The Internet as Elder Wand: It’s the most powerful marketing tool ever created – that is, if a Marketing Wizard can wield it – Another powerful article on Internet Marketing from 4thWeb.

Random Acts of Progress

Why Old-School Ad Agencies are like Dinosaurs

Posted on

Black Sun It is widely suspected by scientists that the age of the dinosaurs came to an abrupt end when a comet, shards of a comet, or similar space debris struck Earth at the end of the Cretaceous Period. It wasn’t the impact itself that killed the dinosaurs, but the blotting out of the sun. Dinosaurs, like all reptiles, were cold-blooded creatures that relied upon external sources of heat to keep their bodies working. No sun meant no vegetation to eat, and no heat to keep the body functioning. Meanwhile, small, forest-bound mammals, which are warm-blooded, managed to survive the apocalyptic conditions. We all know what happened next.

Why Old-School Ad Agencies are Like Dinosaurs

While the jury is still out as to whether or not old-school ad execs themselves are actually cold-blooded reptiles, what can be confirmed is that ad agencies have relied upon mass media channels for decades as their main source of revenue, in the same way that dinosaurs relied upon the sun for heat.

The internet revolution affected the advertising industry in the same way that the comet at the end of the Cretaceous Period affected the Earth. The comet-like internet struck with great speed and without any warning, throwing up such a cloud of dust that ad agencies were temporarily blinded. Now, that worshipped source of millions of dollars in advertising revenue, the sun-like institutions of television and newspaper, have been all but blotted out by the internet’s dust cloud.

Companies today are less interested in pouring advertising dollars into television than they used to be, and that’s bad news for ad agencies. The traditional business model in advertising was a 15% commission off the amount a client would spend in media. Ten to fifteen percent is a lot when you consider how much money a prime time, 30-second commercial spot can cost.

Dinosaurs had huge bodies; they required huge amounts of calories. Ad agencies have huge staffs, big offices, and several executives who expect to get wealthy; they require huge amounts of dollars.

The Cretaceous Period’s mammals survived because they were small, lean, and able to create their own heat. Digital media agencies will survive the ad industry crisis because they are small, lean, and able to rely upon creativity rather than commissions.

Evolve or Die

Not every dinosaur went extinct; some evolved to adapt to their new reality and live on to this day. Birds, for example, have reptilian roots. Alligators and crocodiles downsized and live on. Turtles did alright. Tyrannosaurus Rex, the Brontosaurus, and even the tiny Velociraptor, however, didn’t make it.

Some of the old-school agencies show signs of evolution. At Mullen, for instance, the former Chief Creative Officer now calls himself the Chief Innovation Officer and holds the less-official title of Chief Social Media Officer. Thanks to Mullen’s willingness to adapt to the new advertising landscape, they were able to win contracts with JetBlue and Zappos. Both contracts came their way because they recognized that the 30-second spot is no longer what smart companies are looking for; rather, today’s clients are looking for marketing companies that put social media campaigns and other types of viral advertising ahead of stale TV commercials that are likely to be fast-forwarded through anyway.

Evolve or Die

Diversification of Species

These days, marketing officers at major corporations are no longer likely to rely upon just one ad agency for all of their marketing needs. Instead, they may hire several smaller agencies to do the job that one big agency used to accomplish. Dinosaur-sized agencies are usually just too large to handle user-generated content with efficiency, so more and more CMOs are shifting to a multi-agency model instead (Source: Robert Gourley, Mojave).

When an agency is one of several that a CMO is relying upon, they can afford to be small, because they’re not being called upon to handle every aspect of the client’s marketing needs. When they can afford to be small, they can afford to accept the smaller commissions that are inherent in the world of digital advertising. They simply don’t need to rely upon the 15% commission of a multi-million dollar media spend, and that gives them a competitive advantage over the agencies of yesteryear.

In short, the new advertising industry will favor companies who focus more on the big idea than the big spend. Lean, nimble digital agencies are today’s mammals, busying themselves with out-maneuvering sluggish dinosaur agencies as they compete for scarce resources. History has shown that sudden changes in both terrestrial and business environments easily lead to mass extinction; the ad agencies still using yesterday’s business model would be wise to take this history lesson to heart before they turn themselves into museum exhibits.

Random Acts of Progress

C-Level Executives Watch Online Video Too

Posted on

C-Level Executives Watch Online Video TooExecutives don’t have time to watch online videos. They’re too busy shouting things like, “Buy! No, no – sell, SELL!” They have golf games to attend to. Conference rooms to design. Coffee to ask their secretaries for. Meetings to call – lots and lots and lots of meetings.

If this is what you think C-level executives are up to, well, you’d be right. However, you’d be wrong about not having time to watch online videos. Yes, that’s right: C-level executives – the Chief ____ Officer – are slumming around on YouTube just like the rest of us. Not only are they hanging out in those low-brow corners of the internet, they’re hanging out there more often than ever before.

This interesting fact is brought to us by a new joint research study conducted in December 2010 by Google and Forbes Insights. Among other things, the survey revealed that an astounding 83% of senior-level executives watched more online video in 2010 than they did the year before.

How Senior Executives are Using Video

The difference between a senior executive visiting YouTube and her teenage son visiting YouTube lies within the “what” and the “why”. While the son might be watching music videos, his COO mother is tuning in to YouTube channels not for entertainment purposes, but to research business-related information.

For the time being, the Forbes and Google survey showed, senior execs still prefer text to video. However, this is changing quickly. Already, close to a third of executives under 40 prefer to receive business-related information in the form of online video rather than online text. Internet TV Surprisingly, their elders feel the same way – another 31% of executives 40 and older also prefer video to text. Therefore, the notion that it will take several more years for video to dominate the web, as digital natives in their 20s and 30s move up the corporate ladder, is probably misguided. Older executives are already using video to make business decisions, and they’re doing it in increasing numbers.

What should be very interesting – and exciting — to vendors and any B2B marketers who target C-level executives is what the executives are doing after they view a video. A full 65% of senior executives reported that they have visited a vendor’s website after seeing an online video; 42% report that they made a business-related purchase thanks to an online video.

You Can’t TiVo Online

While companies who advertise on television are scratching their heads trying to figure out what to do about TiVo, companies who advertise online don’t have to worry about it. So far, there’s no equivalent of TiVo that would allow viewers to skip those in-stream ads that show up on YouTube or industry sites.

Not only do business executives have to watch vendor ads when they are viewing another video, they are actually responding to them quite positively. More than a third of executives say that they have contacted a vendor at some point after seeing an ad that showed up in an online video. Almost 70% say that they are comfortable watching the in-stream advertising.

Better yet, the percentage of executives who don’t mind watching “must-watch” online ads is higher the younger the executive is, indicating that in-stream ads will be more and more acceptable to executives as time goes on.

“Hey – You’ve Gotta See This”

Executives Share VideosC-level executives are watching videos, then sharing the ones they like with their colleagues. More than 40% of executives say that they have shared online videos with colleagues; they are receiving links from their colleagues at about the same rate. Watching business-related videos on Facebook is a little bit lower percentage – a total of 33% — but if you look at the under 40 group, this number jumps to 52%.

Where else are business executives watching videos? Perhaps it isn’t surprising to find out that the place they watch videos most often isn’t YouTube but on business-related websites. Nevertheless, more than half of the executives are spending time on YouTube watching video related to their job.

What This Means for Marketers

In case you’re a little slow to catch on, what all of this means for marketers is that online video is poised to explode in 2011. No longer the domain of college kids and home videos, social media marketing with video on YouTube, Facebook, and elsewhere is reaching everyone, even the most powerful people in business.

Marketers can no longer afford to avoid video, any more than they can avoid having a website or a Facebook page. As technology continues to progress, business executives are going to be shouting “Buy!” and “Sell!” based on an online video they saw. They’re going to show colleagues and clients videos on their iPhone on the golf green. They’re going to pull out their laptop in the conference room and show an online video at one of their infernal meetings. In the airport, on the subway, in the back seat of their limousine, business executives are going to be consuming more online video than ever before, and they’re going to use what they see to guide their corporation’s business decisions.

Random Acts of Progress

Study Indicates Social Media Pays

Posted on

New Study Indicates Social Media Pays; Wetpaint and Altimeter Group Find Correlation Between Brands’ Social Media Efforts and Financial Performance

A new study from Wetpaint and the Altimeter Group confirms that deep engagement with consumers through social media channels correlates to better financial performance. The ENGAGEMENTdb study showed significant positive financial results for the companies who measured as having the greatest breadth and depth of social media engagement. These “Social Media Mavens” on average grew company revenues by 18 percent over the last 12 months, while the least engaged companies saw revenues sink 6 percent on average over the same time period.

The ENGAGEMENTdb study reviewed more than 10 discrete social media channels, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, wikis, and discussion forums for each of the 100 most valuable brands as identified by the 2008 BusinessWeek/Interbrand Best Global Brands ranking. Activity in each channel was ranked for depth of interaction on measures that corresponded to that specific channel. Scores for overall brand engagement ranged from a high of 127 to a low of 1. The top 10 ENGAGEMENTdb brands with their scores are:

Starbucks (127)
Dell (123)
eBay (115)
Google (105)
Microsoft (103)
Thomson Reuters (101)
Nike (100)
Amazon (88)
SAP (86)
Tie – Yahoo!/Intel (85)

Qualities of Success

Companies that scored well in the study generally have dedicated teams, however small, active in the social media channels they utilize. The study found that the most successful teams evangelize social media across the entire organization to pull in a broad range of stakeholders. These companies view social media as an indispensable tool to help them achieve results, and their approach is conversational. This mode of operation differs from the approach of traditional communications and early corporate blog experimentation, which emphasizes messaging and talking points.

“This is the first study of this depth on the top global brands and we think the results provide a good guide for corporations and brand marketers in every industry,” said Charlene Li, Founder, Altimeter Group. “The success stories we have uncovered provide a blueprint for companies making decisions about how to best apply their marketing and consumer relations resources.”

“The ENGAGEMENTdb study goes a long way towards validating the importance of social media for business,” said Ben Elowitz, CEO of Wetpaint. “The closer any company is to its customers, the better, and it’s hard to argue with the ability for social media to create such proximity. In this day and age, companies should feel much more comfortable investing in social media — the correlation to results is so clear.”

Four Quadrants of Engagement

While each company in the study received a quantitative score, the ENGAGEMENTdb study revealed that companies fell into four specific categories in terms of their breadth and depth of investment in social media channels — Mavens, Butterflies, Selectives, and Wallflowers.

Mavens — brands that have made social media a core part of their go-to-market strategies and are very active in many channels; usually driven by dedicated teams assisted by company-wide awareness and participation.

Butterflies — brands that recognize the need to be in many channels but have only met with real success in a subset of their activities; these companies are usually spread a bit too thin.

Selectives — brands that focus on just a few channels and excel in those; these efforts are usually initiated by an internal evangelist.

Wallflowers — brands present in only a few channels and very lightly in those; these brands are sitting on the sidelines and are wary of the risks. They are still trying to figure out the best next steps and investments in social media.