Building the Next Generation Marketing Platforms

Bryan Fuhr, SVP, Director of Strategy, Havas Digital is working with his clients to build their next generation digital platforms.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

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brands, agencies, social marketing, online video, tumblr, pinterest, facebook, youtube, content marketing, consumers, eyeballs, display advertising, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as

Bryan Fuhr, SVP, Director of Strategy, Havas Digital is working with his clients to build their next generation platforms — hardware, software and content — to engage consumers and help those brands find greater economic value in their relationships.

Fuhr sees us as being past the point of experimentation with social media marketing. It’s a must for brands wanting to shift consumer preferences and be involved in conversation and culture. As social continues to expand as part of our marketing arsenals, Fuhr recommends “spreading your eggs” across multiple channels, based on where people are spending their time and what they are doing while they are there. Facebook is not the only player and Fuhr sees value in even the much-maligned MySpace for some of his clients.

Considering the near ubiquity of mobile devices, Fuhr observes an absence of mobile experimentation. Mobile success, he states, relies on content that is discoverable, readable, relevant, useful, meaningful and actionable.

Fuhr offers glimpses of Havas Digital’s work with Fidelity and Volvo as examples of the challenges in creating more robust assets in the digital space.

Know the Right Places and Times for Consumer Engagement

Brands acknowledge that there are better ways to reach and talk to customers than the techniques we’ve used in the past.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

Sponsored by
brands, agencies, social marketing, online video, tumblr, pinterest, facebook, youtube, content marketing, consumers, eyeballs, display advertising, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as

Brands acknowledge that there are better ways to reach and talk to customers than the techniques we’ve used in the past. For Barb Goose, EVP at Digitas, those goals are achieved by delivering insightful messages to highly targeted audiences with “in the moment” relevancy.

Goose sees the smartest companies thinking about targeting and retargeting to find the right people and delivering a personalized message. One-offs are less effective than smart, branded content used on multiple channels, such as social and mobile, in a consistent, integrated way.

In this interview, Goose illustrates her points with information on work with client Harley Davidson to encourage more women to ride its motorcycles. The engagement process starts with an understanding of who the women are and how they spend their days. The core messages seek to take away the scare factor for women, so Harley seeks women who ride and are in the target audience’s social circles to serve as active or passive influencers to facilitate sharing of the educational information.

Goose also speaks of the new definition of CRM. She cites companies pivoting their loyalty programs by going from an emphasis on points to integration of social, mobile and other channels. Databases, she comments, can be used in partnership with people’s behaviors with the goal of providing personal responses in real time.

Facing the Increasingly Complicated Media Landscape

As the media landscape becomes increasingly complicated, brands are addressing change on multiple fronts, such as platforms, devices and content creation.

The above video interview is from the Effie Awards judging event in NYC.

Sponsored by
brands, agencies, social marketing, online video, tumblr, pinterest, facebook, youtube, content marketing, consumers, eyeballs, display advertising, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as

As the media landscape becomes increasingly complicated, brands are addressing change on multiple fronts, such as platforms, devices and content creation.

Sonya Svaty, VP, Group Director of Strategy at PHD, sees her clients as concerned about both engagement metrics and loss of control of their messages on social media. The platform is becoming mainstream and no brand wants to see its dirty laundry put on Facebook’s front lawn. Likes, while not the best way to measure engagement, are straightforward and easy-to-use, making them useful for the short term.

The rapid rise of tablets creates more decisions. At present, Svaty sees brands, for now, effectively piggy-backing on the applications of content vendors, as opposed to developing their own apps. She observes high click-through rates by tablet users, projecting a leveling off as early exploring wanes.

Content marketing can be resource intensive for smaller brands, placing demands on budget, time and internal workflow. Svaty distinguishes between brands for which consumers that have clear content needs and those where consumers are less likely to rely on information that is directly product-related when making a purchase

The Real Role of Social Media in the Marketing Mix?

Impact on attitudes & purchase intent of consumer exposure to any type of brand touchpoint including social media, traditional ads, news media, outdoor and conversations.

The above video interview is from the Advertising Research Foundation Audience Measurement conference.

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advertising research, brands, webtv, webisodic series, consumers, eyeballs, display advertising, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as, Online Video Research, Analytics, Distribution, Tracking, Measurement

Amid the myriad of impressions pushed to consumers each day, a basic problem for marketers is to understand how, when, and where consumers notice their brands and how these encounters contribute to purchase and sales. This is especially true when it comes to social media.

Ogilvy and ChatThreads took a comprehensive look at the business impact of integrated social media. We used ChatThreads BrandEncounters™ platform to track in real-time a sample group of Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) consumers’ exposure to a variety of owned, earned, and paid brand “touchpoints”. We also obtained pre- and post-tracking data on purchase.

We found that social media exposure – by itself and more broadly when combined with other types of media exposure such as out-of-home, PR or TV ads – is linked with 2-7x higher likelihood of consumption and actual spend increases for some QSR brands.

The key take-aways for brand marketers are that social media, especially when combined with other other media and marketing touchpoints, can impact bottom-line metrics; it is important to understand how best to combine the media in order to realize the benefit of these synergies; and tracking in real-time how consumers encounter brands provides insight into what drives actual consumer purchase behavior.

Going from “In Your Face” to “In Your Brain”

Brian Mayer discusses the University of Phoenix’s transition to content marketing.

The above video interview is from Internet Week in NYC.

Sponsored by

brands, webtv, webisodic series, content marketing, consumers, eyeballs, display advertising, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as

Many marketers are reporting an increasingly hard time with the hard sell. To address this element of the evolving consumer landscape, Vice President Website & Social Media, Brian Mayer, describes University of Phoenix’s transition to content marketing.

Associated by many with its direct response marketing leveraging affiliate channels and heavy display advertising, the institution has been good at delivering advertising when prospective students are specifically searching for online degree programs. Now, it’s attempting to introduce itself to searchers higher up in their consideration set, by providing information about their industries of interest to help inform their career choices.

University of Phoenix is leveraging a community of faculty, alumni and other experienced contributors working on its behalf to provide relevant, valuable information. Rather than the first touchpoint being a display or affiliate ad, it can be information about industries that career seekers are hoping to enter.

According to Mayer, the process of increasing the discovery of this new content combines SEO, content syndication services and social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Themed content, such as articles and points of pride for students, is published three to four times a day on Facebook.

In process now, says Mayer, is encapsulating article, blog, video and other content into an online magazine format.

The lifespan of online content is nasty, brutish and short

The lifespan of online content is nasty, brutish and short. What to do?

The above video interview is from Internet Week in NYC.                               
Sponsored by
brands, webtv, webisodic series, content marketing, consumers, eyeballs, display advertising, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as

An ugly truth about online media is the incredibly fast decay rates of content objects. Even the most compelling content once published experiences a quick drop off in engagement relative to its perceived value.

Like Thomas Hobbes’ analysis of man in a state of nature, the life of online content is nasty, brutish and short.

Even with our most successful viral hits, an initial spike of aggregated activity around the work is followed by a dramatic plummeting of interest. Sure, search allows for some Long Tail discoverability but the fragmentation and capriciousness of our audiences dooms content of all types to obsolescence.

To stem the tide we build social ecosystems and construct SEO savvy strategies around that which we do in order to sustain the original audience lift just a little bit longer.

What I find interesting though in the above interview Peter Cervieri conducted with Federated Media’s Peter Spande is Spande’s observation of the engagement platforms audiences use for different categories. With business and technology news it’s Twitter. With men’s lifestyle it’s Facebook. And with Women’s lifestyle it’s on site comments. (The discussion starts at approximately 9:08.)

The goal, of course, is fewfold: to sustain the life of the original content object and build loyalty around the brand.

The lone piece of content can’t create that loyalty but by extending engagement with it, and engaging those that are engaged with it, we increase the likelihood that our next greatest hit will be viewed, shared and otherwise promoted… albeit briefly. Rinse and repeat.

So while an individual work suffers the nasty, brutish and short life an unforgiving online environment has in store for it, eventually doomed objects work in tandem to give life to brand loyalty.

Digital optimism: It’s really not as brutish as it may sound.

Social Influence Trumps Individual Choice

Insights from anthropology, primatology, network and other behavioral sciences suggest that our behavior is much more socially- than individually-shaped.


The above video is from the Advertising Research Foundation annual conference. Register now for Audience Measurement 6.0 on June 13 – 14 in NYC.                               
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Despite the noise around Facebook and Social Media, many of us have yet to get to grips with the bigger and more challenging insights from anthropology, primatology, network and other behavioral sciences which suggest that our behavior is much more socially- than individually-shaped.

This session from the Advertising Research Foundation annual conference explores how social our behavior really is and how the mechanisms behind social influence really work.

Presented by:
Mark Earls – Consultant, HERD Consulting
John Kearon – Chief Juicer and Founder, BrainJuicer

Magical Marketing Beans

Marketing is no longer a spectator sport…it’s a contact sport. Think Roller Derby.


The above video interview is from the ANA Brand Conference in NYC.                               
Sponsored by
brands, webtv, webisodic series, content marketing, consumers, eyeballs, display advertising, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as

Brands spend a lot of time and money to acquire new customers, as evidenced by the hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year on print, radio, TV, and billboard advertising. Once a customer is acquired, however, the company pleads poverty. Suddenly, the same company can’t find a quarter to spare in its proverbial pocket to interact with the proud new owner of the company’s product or service. Not much time or money is spent on servicing a newly acquired or lifelong customer.

Companies think of every way possible to spend as little money as possible on customers. Voice XML must have been a god-send for companies with lots of customers (I’m looking at you airline, cell phone and cable industries). Why have customer service reps talk to a confused or frustrated customer for 5 minutes to solve a problem when a soothing robot voice with a British accent can walk the customer through a series of “yes” or “no” answers for 45 minutes. The customer’s time doesn’t cost money. A customer service rep’s time, even at Bangalore wages, does cost money.

But in a world where I can actively rant about my insurance company and its CEO, optimize the article for SEO purposes, tweet it, facebook it and publicly hold up my middle finger to Mark Wagar, CEO Empire BlueCross BlueShield, maybe its time to allocate more of those marketing dollars to servicing current customers. After all, I’ve also produced glowing video product reviews that have been watched thousands of times.

Marketing is no longer a spectator sport…it’s a contact sport. Think Roller Derby. And amidst all this chaos, the opportunities and roles for brands have never been more profound and relevant. Call it customer experience or customer service 2.0. Or flip the words and just call it servicing customers. Either way, we’re talking about a return to not just customer centricity but in fact customer authenticity.

Over the next decade, companies will be held accountable and judged no longer by “what they say”, but in fact “what they do”; no longer by the “promises they make”, but by the “promises they keep”. And in this scenario, marketing’s role will be one of collaboration, partnership and unification.

Bestselling author Joseph Jaffe spoke at the ANA Brand conference in NYC and introduced the true C.O.S.T. of marketing as a service. In his presentation, he outlined the shift from campaigns to commitments to platforms and how social media can play an indelible role in “flipping the funnel” and in doing so, transforming marketing from an uninvited guest to a welcome and invaluable one.

Below is the bow-tie concept he explains in the video above.

Dell Social Media – Linking Conversations to Sales

Analyzing social media data and correlating social media conversations that mention the brand to actual purchases.

The above video interview is from the ANA Brand Conference in NYC.                               
Sponsored by
brands, webtv, webisodic series, content marketing, consumers, eyeballs, display advertising, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as

I can’t imagine there are any brands out there that don’t view social media as an important channel to connect with and engage audiences. I also don’t know many brands that understand exactly how to measure the ROI provided by social media activities.

The company that is probably closest to solving the social media riddle is Dell.

Dell analyzes an enormous amount of social media data and tries to correlate data from social media conversations that mention the brand to actual conversions. Dell views social media as a lead generator. The company analyzes what people saying in social media environments about the brand and tries to determine whether those conversations lead to sales.

The e-commerce giant uses social media monitoring tools, such as radian6, which was recently acquired by Salesforce.com, to listen to what people are saying about the brand and to then actively engage people.

Dell actively listens to the 25,000 daily conversations that mention the brand. It participates in as many of those converastions as possible, not just to listen, but to act based on what the brand learns from these conversations to develop new products, market more effectively and handle customer support. The entire organization, from new product development, to marketing and customer support, is developing Ross Perot sized ears and strategies to engage consumers where they are talking about the brand.

On the company’s Web site, Dell is working with vendors such as Bazaarvoice to facilitate user-generated product reviews on product detail pages. According to Dell, site visitors who read product reviews by other consumers are more likely to purchase products than those who do not have access to reviews on product detail pages.

The next step will be to feature social media conversations (twitter, facebook, youtube videos) right on product detail pages.

Dell’s social media strategy focuses on review (monitoring), respond, record (video), and redirect (search engine marketing and optimization). On the record front, Dell creates product videos that appear on the product detail pages and on Slideshare, Youtube, Facebook, and anywhere else it believes its’ target audience might stumble across relevant product videos developed by the marketing, product design and customer support teams.

Coca-Cola Taps Into Real-time Social Data

Coke takes us on a high speed, data-infused action thriller.

The above video interview is from the Advertising Research Foundation annual conference. Register now for Audience Measurement 6.0 on June 13 – 14 in NYC.                               
Register Now
arf, advertising, research, ana, association of national advertisers, iab, 4as

I know I’ve done a lot of interviews in the past month when I can’t remember whether I interviewed the Coke CMO a few weeks ago. After a bit of digging, I realized that I did indeed sit down with Joseph Tripodi, EVP and Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, at the Advertising Research Foundation annual conference for a robust 20 minute conversation.

We covered a lot of topics…hold on, have to watch the interview again to remember what we talked about….including the opportunities and challenges facing brands in a quickly evolving social and digital world. This real-time world throws off massive amounts of data for companies to sift through and make sense of at lighting speed in order to gain a 2 second advantage on the competition. How is Coke changing the way it interacts with consumers in this new world order of consumer engagement and real-time data?

Real-time access to social data allows Coke to develop deeper insight into people’s motives. Instead of looking at the past to predict the future, Coke can look at, and make sense of, real-time information.

Coke spends a lot of time monitoring social networks and how people are reacting to various Coke brands to get real-time feedback on a daily basis. The company is currently building an enterprise-wide social media strategy. It doesn’t hurt that the brand currently has 24,907,446 Facebook fans and 251,152 Twitter followers.

Real-time information isn’t just coming from the Web. Coke is reinventing its fountain machine in the US and has introduced Freestyle, which is a real-time lab that shows Coke management what flavors consumers are mixing. Technology is helping to inform innovation and new product development.

How do you use speed to innovate faster? As Coke gains access to more real-time data and consumer feedback, the company can innovate faster and react to consumer tastes and demands. With emerging technologies and tools, Coke is focused more on precision marketing – displaying the right message, in the right media, to the right consumer segment, in a specific geography, at the right time.

When it comes to brand building, advocacy is the thing Coke values the most, above loyalty. People standing up for and endorsing the brand is enormously powerful. Coke focuses more on expressions than impressions. So while Coke recently produced a viral Youtube video – the Jennifer Aniston sex tape video, which has already passed 9 million views – the brand takes more pride in earned media, whether it be a fan video, or a positive tweet.

Coke has always tried to capitalize on consumer passion points, such as music and sports. One of the new consumer passion points is sustainability. Coke has a program called Live Positively, which has multiple dimensions of sustainability. In each of the categories – water, carbon footprint, recycling, communities – Coke is working at the local level to try to make the world a better place. To do so, the company engages people at the local level to identify problems and solutions on all these fronts. Sustainability is actually where Joe spends most of his time on a day to day basis.

Joe also talks about what skills ad researchers need to do to be viewed as valued strategic contributors within the company. Intellectual curiosity, inspiration, being provocateurs, taking risks and pushing the envelope and making the management team uncomfortable are all attributes that make the list. The research team needs to evolve beyond market research to push and inspire the organization towards change, even if it means telling the management team things they don’t want to hear.

Two other topics we covered include Coke’s use of mobile couponing to drive consumers into retail stores and the brand’s efforts to bring social conversations back to Coke owned Web sites. Coke views itself, through socially enabled micro-sites, as a community facilitator, bringing people with common interests together around areas of passion, such as the World Cup.