April 18, 2010

3 Digital Marketing Imperatives Going to market is no longer a matter of crafting messages and buying media. Brands need to craft communications strategies that take into account the channels, the media and the target mentality then plan, design, parse and orchestrate the messages over time, geography and channels in the face of competitive activity and increasing noise-to-signal ratios. Successful online marketing requires adherence to 3 critical imperatives: Brands Demand Orchestration. Imagine that rather than concentrating your web presence in a single web site you distribute the messaging using satellite sites and by syndicating content to present your brand in an array of venues aligned with target audiences and brand objectives. It becomes perfectly okay to present the same content in several places or in several channels at the same time. This creates opportunities to piggy-back on the semantic magnets like Wikipedia, Facebook or YouTube to stimulate a much wider and deeper conversation between your brand and your customer base at modest cost increments. It opens up the possibility of dialogue and persuasion using a wide array of platforms and devices that empower consumers to take-in information when, how or where they want it. Brands Must Embrace Distributed Messaging. Syndication trumps destination as the website moves from a position as the be-all and end-all to a position at the center of the wheel as the repository for the mother lode of branded content. A digital strategy must provide a decoupled channel experience with the ability to deliver the right type of content to the right channel whether it is to a browser, a desktop, a console, a portal or a hand-held device. Brands will re-purpose, de-construct and mash-up assets like videos, images, data, articles, press releases, polls, quizzes, KOL opinions, reviews, white papers and other key assets and seek out venues to distribute them elsewhere on the web with link-backs to corporate and branded sites. This tactic will simultaneously increase the trolling area for prospects and customers and positively impact on natural search results. It will also create built-in networks for re-marketing campaigns. Websites Are the Hub of a Brand’s Ecosystem. As content is distributed, accessed and used in countless ways, the new mission for a branded website is at the center of a brand ecosystem. A branded website is the primary shop window aimed at educating and engaging prospective customers. A web site validates the brand’s claims offline and establishes a tone and manner for digital communication. The persuasive burden is to quickly and easily communicate the value proposition, build demand and prompt lead generation or interaction. A site should be the base of operations for online marketing and include the mother lode of data, imagery and copy necessary to fully represent the brand posture. Separate landing pages should be constructed to manage campaigns and the site should be optimized for natural search. Blogs can be built-into brand sites or established (and linked to) as independent entities depending on the content and the marketing objectives. In an always-on 24/7 mass media culture where the number and variety of stimuli is too many to count and where everyone has set their personal filters to filter out the vast majority of messages, you have to carefully pick your shots and marshal creative and media firepower to get your point across on-target. Technology enables the flow and the filtration, but marketers have to factor in the environment and the audience mindset in order to identify, target, reach, engage and persuade customers.
Maximizing the ROI of Facebook Ads On Facebook …frequency plus social currency equals dramatic increases in recall, awareness and purchase intent. That’s the conclusion and the prescription from a joint Nielsen-Facebook study of 800,000 Facebook users exposed to 125 campaigns from 70-odd CPC, retail and entertainment brands over 6 months. Titled “Understanding the Value of a Social Media Impression” and authored by Jon Gibs at Nielsen and Sean Bruich at Facebook, the focus was on three ad types … Paid Homepage Ads. Creative content, offers, deals and “Become a Fan” options that are bought and appear above the fold on users homepages. Targeted by a broad range of psycho-demographics, geography and keywords, this is similar to traditional small space or online advertising. Reach is limited only by budget. Facebook users recognize these as ads. Response is in the standard 2 percent direct marketing range. Social Impressions. Combine paid ad creative with social currency by including the names of users’ friends in the ad unit, which is served to user’s homepages above the fold using the same targeting criteria. Reach is partly a function of paid and passed-along impressions. Users see these units as ads with privileges. Organic Impressions. These earned media impressions are the News Feed messages served to existing fan pages that are passed along to friends of fans. These are the most persuasive and welcomed units but reach is limited by the current number of fans per brand. Generally these units have the most impact and the smallest reach. But you can’t buy more of them even though the study found a 24 percent lift in the number of users engaging with a campaign due to exposure to organic friend-driven messages. But not every fan will pass the word along. And not every friend of a fan will appreciate the commercial branded message. The secret to a successful campaign is combining the formats to achieve sufficient frequency and reach with plus the added persuasive mojo of social and organic impressions passed along from friends to friends; the ultimate in digitally-assisted word-of-mouth advertising. The units are complimentary and work best in a combined plan. Adding social advocacy units to a traditional homepage ad buy increases recall 60 percent, doubles awareness and quadruples purchase intent. Naturally more exposure drives more of everything just like other media. Those exposed to 10 or more messages had 15 percent higher brand recall. The success formula suggested by this data is … Build as big a fan base as you can. Encourage fans to enroll their friends. Offer special deals to stimulate fandom. Routinely serve them interesting content and incent them to pass your messages along. Buy homepage ads using psycho-demographic and geographic criteria. Test small batches before you roll out major campaigns. Test alternate creative executions and offers. Use events, holidays and the retail calendar as triggers. Experiment with social advocacy ads. Embed the names of friends into ads and see what happens. Count. Tweak. Try again. Create a 1-2 punch. Coordinate the messaging and the timing of a mini-campaign by linking the messages, images, offers in the different units and hoping that 1+1 will be much more than 2.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

The Typepad Team

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