This IS The Age Of Mobile Marketing …Is Your Agency Standing On The Sidelines?

December 29, 2009

According to a recent article published by eMarketer, mobile commerce’s time has arrived. Aided by a flurry of acquisition activity, an influx of venture capital funding and growing brand adoption in the latter half of 2009, the year ahead will see mobile continue its shift toward the marketing mainstream.

 It is eye-catching when a consultancy revises a market forecast upward in the midst of an economic downturn. That is exactly what ABI Research did with its forecast of mobile sales of physical goods in North America. In January 2009 it projected m-commerce sales would reach $544 million this year, up 57% over 2008—impressive in its own right. But in late October, ABI upped its forecast, saying sales would top $750 million in 2009, a whopping 117% annual growth rate. M-commerce’s time has arrived, and it is an easy bet that sales in 2010 will pass the $1 billion mark.

 Whereas consumers once limited their mobile phone purchases to downloadable ringtones and games, today they are using their devices to buy books, apparel and other items associated with online shopping on a PC.

 As I have often commented before, this increased growth will ultimately create a need for better creative. Up until now, marketers and their agencies have done a tremendous job of recycling and repurposing creative assets from other media and channels, in an attempt to make sure that as much of the budget as possible goes into working media.

This is an opportunity for agencies to step up to the plate and deliver a better quality product while demanding more fully funded mobile production budgets.  While most creative types currently believe that mobile environments have significant creative limitations, the reality is that this is indeed not the case. The problem is that most creatives are not aware of the technologies currently available and hence what is actually possible.

 While there are currently some notable agencies out there leading the charge and creating excellent work, most seem to be overlooking the opportunity.

Share

Advertisements

Recent Fortune 100 RFP’s Search For A New Breed of People2People Agency

December 22, 2009

 

In recent weeks, a number of Fortune 100 companies have issued agency RFP’s that share a common purpose. They are all looking for a unique agency organization that can truly deliver what they refer to as “Integrated Customer Relationship Marketing”. Some common parameters across all of the documents can be summarized as follows:

  • Preferably an agency that was not built out of a historical specialty (like advertising or direct marketing etc), but rather one that has been built from the ground up with the vision of being a truly integrated shop.
  • The key disciplines required are digital, direct, CRM/eCRM, data analytics, integrated marketing planning and true channel neutrality.

A key question asked by most of them is: “What is your vision for the future of Integrated Customer Relationship Marketing?” I thought I would take a shot at answering it, and sharing my perspectives with all of you.

Here is my response:

As we move deeper into this new “conversation economy,” true brand engagement and customer relationships are becoming more and more important. Marketers must strive to create ongoing and relevant dialogs with consumers, if they are to have any hope whatsoever of remaining part of the consideration set going forward.

We know it’s been said many times before that, traditional marketing and advertising thinking is no longer effective as consumer media habits continue to evolve at an ever quickening pace. Branding as we know it is for all intents and purposes dead, as most consumers’ first impressions of a brand are what they find in search results or what they read from other people in reviews.

As consumers continue to circumvent traditional media approaches, they are gravitating towards those media/channels that provide easy access to information, advice and recommendations, plus allow them to socialize and be entertained at the same time. In the process, these consumers are building and refining their own trusted personal networks.

If marketers want to be positioned to take advantage of this evolving opportunity, the first step is to forget about continuing to structure your organization in silos like brand, direct, digital and social marketing, and start to think about People2People marketing. If you can seamlessly integrate your marketing efforts and succeed in motivating customers not only to interact with you, but to develop a true brand relationship, you may be able to persuade them to share their personal networks with you. In doing so you will have created a powerful channel and relationship for your brand in the marketplace.

Traditional direct and database marketers will be disappointed to hear that targeting is dying too. As consumers change to pulling information as they want or need it, push marketing becomes less and less relevant, no matter how “targeted” the marketer thinks it is. No longer can you just drop an email to your house file or run a banner campaign with the simple objective to sell more products or generate more leads. You have to become part of the conversation, where they are and when they want to have it. Also, keep in mind that conversations cannot be bought either, and if they are, the community often quickly finds out and retaliates.

The new age of People2People marketers have to be experts in understanding consumer habits and expectations in this new media environment. They need to be the unbiased filter that prioritizes the media/channels and indentifies the ones that will yield the greatest ROI.

This new breed of marketer will avoid the temptation to shout messages at consumers disrespectfully or target thousands of people multiple times with generic messages and offers of little or no relevance. Instead, they will embrace techniques that cultivate genuine and open dialogue with customers, where brands quietly listen and learn, and then respond with relevant content and new features and product innovations that better match the needs of the consumer.

Marketers who embrace this new reality of People2People marketing will be rewarded by clients who not only out perform their competitors, but also deliver industry leading financial results. You may be interested to know that in July 2009, a report by social platform provider Wetpaint and analyst firm Altimeter found that:

Companies deeply engaged in seven or more social channels (blogs, branded social websites, Facebook, Wikis, ratings and reviews etc.) significantly surpassed their peers in terms of both revenue and performance”.

You may think that this is a tall order, but I know that it’s not impossible. That’s because the solution can be found in the motivations of the conversationalists themselves. After all, conversation is mankind’s natural search engine.

The above being said, the question then becomes – how do you keep the conversation going? You’ll constantly be competing with other conversations for your customer’s time and attention. You spark and fuel conversations with surveys, forums and invitations for contributions that pertain to the incremental value that your brand/product can bring to their lives. Keeping ongoing conversations fresh is where contextual research and newsletters, blogs, websites, videos and social media shine.

The remaining question is how do you monitor results and measure success? According to Susan Scrupski of ITSinsider, seeing results depends heavily on how you organize your business and equip the people who are part of it.

As you enable the conversation between you and your customers, you enter into collaborative design. Picking up information and passing it into an organization that knows what to do with it is the inflection point between an integrated marketing relationship strategy and actual business success. Taking the time to measure it in the fundamental currency of business is the final step in putting all pieces in place to win in the marketplace”.

Share


Ad Agencies Need To Learn To Say, “That’s Not What We Do”

November 16, 2009

Say no imagesCA4N0876

In a recent post on Seth Godin’s Blog, he suggests that successful organizations spend a lot of time saying, “that’s not what we do”. He believes it’s a requirement, because if you do everything, in every way, you’re sunk, and I agree.

 He goes on to say that these companies achieved their success by standing for something, by approaching markets and situations in a certain way. Sure, Nike could make money in the short run by licensing their name to a line of wines and spirits, but that’s not what they do.

 “That’s not what we do,” is the backbone of strategy, it determines who you are and where you’re going.

 Too many agencies put themselves in a position where they chase every new business opportunity that comes along, even when they know that they do not have the required capabilities to be successful. Just because you claim to be a full service, 360 Degree agency, does not make your agency competent, let alone an expert in every discipline.

 Ideally, you should ask yourselves if you really have the experience and expertise to address the RFP without reverting to smoke and mirrors?  Even more importantly, ask yourselves if you are really able to deliver the quality of work and results required in order to help the client be successful. If the answer is no, then take a pass and wait for something more suitable.

 The Why imperative:

On the other hand, never use “that’s not what we do” as an excuse not to adapt to change when opportunities come along. In this instance, people in the organization should not forget to ask: “Why?” If the only reason you don’t do something is because you never did, that’s not a good reason. If the environment has changed dramatically and you are feeling pain because of it, this is a great reason to question yourself, to ask why.

 Seth goes on to say that the why factor is really clear online. Simon and Schuster or the Encyclopedia Britannica could have become Google (organizing the world’s information) but they didn’t build a search engine because that’s not what they do. Struggling newspapers could have become thriving networks of long tail content, but they chose not to, because that’s not what they do.

 Maybe Cliff Freeman & Partners could have averted their recent demise if only they had embraced the “Why Imperative”.  They missed the opportunity to leverage their rich creative history and reputation while morphing themselves into a leading edge person2person agency.

Share


Social CRM Is The New Driver For Ad Agency New Business!

October 22, 2009

Social CRM is the new currency in ad agency new business. Influential clients are forcing a convergence between CRM and PR, making tracking what is being said and by who a vital component of your new business strategy.

In a recent survey conducted by Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law, marketers were asked the question, “For what reason do you use social media”. While 82% of respondents said that brand building was there number one reason, 60% indicated that personal networking was the second most important reason, with customer service a distant third at 32%.

 Social graph

The very marketers that we agencies target are telling us that personal social networking is an extremely important activity for them. Why then do so many agencies ignore social networking when it comes to their own new business prospecting?

Ad agencies should be out there listening to marketers, using the available tools to track all relevant conversations, identifying who the influencers are and starting to build a dialog and ultimately a relationship development program. Many prospective and existing agency clients are active right now sharing their opinions with others through social networking channels. Some of the more enthusiastic individuals have become evangelists, establishing a significant sphere of influence in the market place. Barry Judge, the CMO of Best Buy would be a perfect example of such a marketer.

According to Susan Scrupski of ITSinsider, seeing results depends heavily on how you organize your business and equip the people who are part of it. As you enable the conversation between you and your prospective customers, you enter into collaborative design. Picking up information and passing it into an organization that knows what to do with it is the inflection point between social business strategy and actual business success. Taking the time to measure it in the fundamental currency of business — which as Susan says is “currency” — is the final step in putting all pieces in place to win in the marketplace.

This convergence between PrR and CRM makes tracking who is saying what and developing an ability to respond directly a must have skill. By efficiently organizing and strategizing your responses, you can use this information to guide your social web program and the evolution of your business itself.

That’s powerful!

 

 

Share


Rx for Ad Agencies Suffering From Direct, Digital and Social Media Confusion or Disorientation

October 18, 2009

CB067305

The opportunity is clear. Forget about continuing to structure your agency in silos like brand, direct, digital and social marketing, and start to think about People2People marketing. qIf you can integrate your marketing efforts and succeed in motivating customers not only to interact with you, but to share their personal networks with you, you will have created a powerful channel for your brand in the marketplace.


Mobile Marketing. The Ad Agency New Business Goldmine

October 16, 2009

mobile 3images

Mobile marketing has an additive effect on other advertising and marketing efforts and can bridge the gap between digital and traditional campaigns. It is also flexible, lending itself to both direct response and brand reinforcement campaigns. (Source: eMarketer, June, 2009)

Despite the rising number of mobile users and their increasingly sophisticated habits and mobile devices, currently advertising and marketing dollars flowing to mobile lag behind consumer usage of the channel. This however is about to change and the change is going to be significant. According to eMarketer, mobile advertising spending is going to increase from a mere $416 million in 2009 to $1.560 billion in 2013.

mobile media106464 

This increased growth will ultimately create a need for better creative. Up until now, marketers and their agencies have done a tremendous job of recycling and repurposing creative assets from other media and channels, in an attempt to make sure that as much of the budget as possible goes into working media.

This is an opportunity for agencies to step up to the plate and deliver a better quality product while demanding more fully funded mobile production budgets.  While most creative types currently believe that mobile environments have significant creative limitations, the reality is that this is indeed not the case. The problem is that most creatives are not aware of the technologies currently available and hence what is actually possible.

While there are currently some notable agencies out there leading the charge and creating excellent work, most seem to be overlooking the opportunity.

 

 

Share


Social Media Fuels Land Grab Within Client Marketing Departments!

October 13, 2009

The exponential growth in social networking and popularity of social media, has created an incredible land grab within many internal client marketing departments. This can be both an opportunity and threat as it relates to the agency world.

In a June, 2009 survey by Zoomerang/StrongMail, marketers were asked the question, “Which marketing function owns social media within your organization?” The survey revealed that 29% of respondents said that it is shared by multiple functions. The majority of respondents however (36%) reported that direct marketing owns social media with only 9% saying that is was owned by PR and just 5% claiming to have a dedicated internal social media department.

A deeper look into what may be driving this revealed some very interesting facts. According to a recent eMarketer article, when marketing executives were asked what they perceived the benefits to be of social media, their responses were as follows:

value of social 

 81% of respondents stated that the major benefits were both brand building and CRM. 69% also believed that it was a viable recruitment tool too, with customer service close behind it at 64%.

Looking even deeper, here is how this same group of marketers answered the question, “For what reasons do you use social media?”

 resons they use sm106332

                                               

For those respondents who claimed not to be using social media, here are the responses as to their reasons why not to.

Reasons they don't106328 

 It’s no wonder that social media responsibility is shared between departments for nearly a third of marketers and very clear to see what exactly is stopping the majority of the non-users from leveraging it. Depending on how you look at it, this can either be an opportunity or a threat, whether you are an incumbent agency or a competitive agency trying to win some new business.