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seven habits_infographic_2.ashxMcKinsey & Company recently pointed out that companies need to approach digital marketing differently, on a fundamental level. Among their points in “The 7 Habits of Highly-Effective Digital Enterprises” McKinsey notes the ineffectiveness of companies that assign digital marketing to a staffer or set up an internal team. They suggest it is a skill set to be acquired through external resource.

Let’s look at this another way. Social media is the latest marketing touchpoint. Advertising, public relations, direct marketing, web development, and sales promotion are among social media’s predecessors. How many companies attempt to assign those duties to a staffer? Very few. It is arguable that very few companies execute these marketing touch points well internally.

The missing ingredient? The creative talent.

Why creative talent largely resides outside companies is a discussion for another day, but the work of very few in-house departments approaches that of outside agencies. The same applies to social media. Like the others, social media is a distinct and separate marketing skill. Creative acumen is a critical issue in social campaigns as well. Companies that simply push social media off to someone internally run counter to historical precedent and risk falling behind competitively.

According to the hair care company, Pantene, 70% of men think that women need to downplay their personality to be accepted in the workplace.

Other alarming statistics have been published recently by PEW Research Center that involve working mothers, stating that women are much more likely than men to experience family-related career interruptions and that these interruptions hurt their career progression.

Additionally, the Stanford Graduate School of Business has published a gender related study that addresses the perception bias of men and women in the workplace. In the research, a case study of Heidi Roizen, a successful venture capitalist was shared with a group of students. Afterward, the students were surveyed, and though Heidi and Howard were found equally competent, the students found Howard much more likeable.

This commercial, created by Pantene, addresses the issue that women face when they refuse to give in to the labels that hold them back. “Because when you stand strong, you shine.”

What do you think about these double standards that Pantene has addressed?

I have been a mobile customer with Sprint for the past five years. As a college graduate with only $200 to my name, I was enticed by the cheap plans that promised unlimited data and text messaging. Yes, that meant unlimited Facebook and YouTube access for approximately half of the cost that Verizon or AT&T could promise.

Then, to make things even better, Sprint announced that it would be the main sponsor of NASCAR {Insert redneck jokes here.} According to Sprint, there would be a ton of perks as a mobile customer if you were a NASCAR fan: exclusive content in related apps, behind the scenes action, and improved mobile service while at the track.

So, while I have not always been pleased with the service or data speeds that Sprint can provide – I have stuck by their side.

However, there has recently been a constant debate in my household as we plan to finally merge our cell phone plans onto one family plan: Which is better – Sprint or Verizon?

There’s no doubt that Verizon has faster data and better service, but you simply can’t rule out the competitive pricing of Sprint or the NASCAR partnership. (Seriously, I can hear the redneck jokes from here…)

So, how did we solve the debate? Simply put: the customer service I received or didn’t receive via Twitter.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Sprint Cup race in Bristol. With around 100,000 race fans in attendance, it’s doesn’t surprise me if I can’t get service on my phone, even if Sprint tells me I should. However, when I looked over at my friends phone to see that their Verizon service was running just as strong as ever, I became instantly frustrated with Sprint. My reaction? I did what any civil 20 something would do and I tweeted about it.

Sprint Customer Service

Now, let me tell you why this response only infuriated me.

1. It was sent to me the next day – when the race was over and I was home.

2. Sprint is the main sponsor of NASCAR! The events that they put their name on is part of a multi-billion dollar sports industry. So, how on earth would somebody responding to me via Twitter have absolutely NO idea where Bristol is located?

OK, now that I got that out of my system. Let me share with you the response that Verizon provided another day or two later.

Verizon Customer Service

While I admit that the response is less than clever – it is still a response. It shows that Verizon not only monitors the conversation that people are having directly with the brand – it is also listening to what others are saying. If nothing else, Verizon took an opportunity of frustration and turned it into a time of research.

I inevitably clicked that link. And because of that, I will inevitably switch my service to Verizon.

So, who still says social media is stupid? Because, for Verizon, a simple tweet that took 30 seconds to write earned them a new customer.

Seriously, Sprint, share your marketing plan with the rest of your company.

Since the many changes to Facebook since the Timeline update to Pages, we’ve found great successes in utilizing Facebook Advertising.

A recent campaign we ran for specialty-retail client Swoozie’s produced a .35 cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of new Fans to their Facebook Page, helping us to reach the 15,000 Fan level in a very cost-effective way.

A few best practices we’ve found to be helpful in driving success for your campaigns.

Be Goal-Oriented

Set a single, very specific goal for each Ad you run. The more focused you are on your goal,the easier it is to accomplish. Facebook Ads are shown to produce better results if what you’re trying to accomplish lives on the same platform, for example, driving Facebook Event RSVPs or new Likes to your Fan Page, as opposed to driving a contest on your brand website.

Dive Into Your Target

Go deeper than the standard demographic targeting you’d normally use. One of the best things about Facebook Advertising is the specificity in which you can target by lifestyle, behavior, interest and so much more. And, remember you can use the visual component of the ad to mimic the segment you’re targeting.

Be Organic

If you’re campaign goal is to add new Fans, always run a “Sponsored Stories” ad type as part of your campaign to help drive Likes. To the average consumer, this Ad type feels less like an ad and more like a functional feature of Facebook so they’re more likely to take action. And, remember to target only those people who are not already connected to your Fan Page.

Tap into the Power of Referral

Add a deeper level of referral to the “Sponsored Stories” Ad type by also targeting “friends of Fans” of your Fan Page. The old saying is true – birds of a feather flock together. Friends are more likely to trust and join in the fun because they see others in their peer group are taking action. I bet you’ll find this to be one of your top producers campaign after campaign.

Ah, metrics.

Ask any marketer in the world and they will tell you that it is important to measure your marketing efforts. Because if you don’t monitor metrics that report  the significance of what you are (or aren’t) doing, then you will never have any idea if you are doing the right thing.

This should not be news to you. 

Blog posts and articles saturate the web that outline the significance of measuring marketing efforts. However, and might I add ironically, this is the exact area where marketers lack the most. In fact, I garauntee that if you walked into any marketing agency and asked them if all of their metrics dashboards or data sheets were up to date you would get a big fat “NO.”

Why is this so often the case? Well, I could tell you because updating spreadsheet after spreadsheet is often tedious. Or maybe you would prefer the answer that marketers are so fixed on doing that they forget to look back and observe what they’ve done?

I believe that the true answer lies into a little of both.

As a marketer I want to put the client first. I want to share their content, brainstorm for their brand, and dream of the next viral campaign. However, the more time I spend on thinking of the future without observing the past, the higher the risk I run of heading straight down a path to NOWHERE.

My point? Take the time to measure your initiatives and understand how your marketing efforts are performing. I promise that it will only provide insight that will enable you to be a better marketer. And in the end, isn’t that what we all are striving to become?

In a time where advertising is not always glamorized (excluding Super Bowl Sunday, of course) one TV show has helped bring back the industry’s cool factor among the general public.

Mad Men.

And while this show may have led to some interesting conversations about how I spend my day at work (No, we don’t drink whisky and smoke cigars all day. Only in the afternoons.) it has brought a lot of welcomed attention to the industry. The show’s stellar ratings have proven that ad-folk and non-ad-folk alike enjoy reminiscing on the glamor, controversy, and history of the advertising industry.

So when I heard about Newsweek’s Mad Men issue, I was giddy. Not only is the magazine’s cover a throwback to the 1960’s design, but the publication is filled with retro ads. Can you imagine being assigned to create an ad for a brand – and make it in-line with how it would have looked in 1965? Best costume contest ever.

Click over to AdAge to check out 22 pages of retro ads for Bloomingdales, Lincoln, Tide, and more. Plus, you can even vote for your favorite. Which has your pick?

The biggest single myth surrounding social media is that it is a replacement in some form for other advertising or marketing channels. Social media destroys traditional linear marketing communications models. At heart, social media is an engagement point that can be started by customer, company, competitor, or onlooker. Anyone.

Online & social media is a two-fold communications addition:

1. An exploratory touchpoint prior to sales

2. A follow-up, referral and word-of-mouth to prospective customers and to enhance repeat purchases

As this chart demonstrates, social media is a new touchpoint. One of research initiated by prospects. It is a new step in the purchase cycle, not replacing any traditional element.

Zealotry actions (referral, reviews and other engagements) are extremely valuable, but they work best as authentic elements within this new stage of exploration.

The Super Bowl is a unique experience in the marketing business. It is one of the very few events that that the audience actually welcomes a commercial interruption.

Most of the time, anyway. What works and what doesn’t?

It’s a social event. So, the audience wants to be entertained. No, they really aren’t interested in your selling message. Why some of the so-called favorite Super Bowl ads are not well-remembered. But, the vast majority have one thing in common – they are comedic in theme. This is a double-edged sword, as those that are rated the worst tend to be humor-based ads that simply miss the mark. So, you not only need to be funny. But good funny.

Advertisers are playing in the Super Bowl. Best game. Biggest audience of the year. Biggest name advertisers. Most expensive placement. And, the winning ads recognize all this and go all out in production. You are not being seen in a normal television program. The costs are high. Why would an advertiser pay the media costs and not put equal emphasis on creativity and production values? The winning advertisers do such.

Which leads to the final point. Some of the historic winning advertisers in Super Bowl broadcasts take the last point to an extreme. They created a commercial that  ran ONLY during the Super Bowl and for that one broadcast only. Conventional wisdom suggests you take advantage of the production outlay and the initial awareness and air the commercial in a subsequent schedule. But, several notable advertisers have opted for the “one and done” creative production to great success, most notably Apple and Master Lock. In fact, Apple’s “1984” Macintosh introduction commercial has widely been viewed by the ad industry as the all-time commercial.

From Media Post:

To help marketers boost their reach on Facebook, the company has added an option that lets companies advertise to friends of their brand fans on the social network.

The new “Friends of Connections” targeting feature allows you to “expand your audience reach by delivering your ads to the friends of people already connected with your Page, Application, Group or Event,” according to a a post on the Facebook Ads Page. So when someone sees the ad, they will see which of their friends is a fan.

Previously, advertisers could only target people who “fanned” their pages, used their applications, or signed up to any company groups or events via the site.

The new targeting capability “should lead to increased conversion on Facebook Ads (Facebook’s performance advertising system), because users will find the social context and implied endorsement more interesting,” according to the Inside Facebook blog. That’s the idea, anyway.

While the company has allowed marketers to include social actions in ads before, this is the first time they can specifically target just friends of connections. If users don’t want their Facebook actions in the ads that friends see, they can use the site’s ad privacy setting to turn off that feature.

Hollrr is a relatively new site devoted to referral.  Unlike other organic referrals or recommendations found on the web, Hollrr brashly solicits endorsements through reviews, referrals and other tactics and will pay cash for the efforts.

From Hollrr: “Social Media totally changes what effective advertising should be. Why should you believe a company that tells you their brand is good… when you can listen to the Twittersphere and find out exactly what users think of that brand?”

Social media does not change what effective advertising should be.   Effective advertising has always been about being authentic, credible, distinctive and often, giving consumers a different way to look at a product or service.

BzzAgent has been successful as a grassroots referral promotion for new products.   But, using social media as the primary platform opens up a company for severe backlash if referral is driven by promotional payouts instead of real, felt experiences.

Incidentally, Hollrr is ranked by Alexa as the number 266,263 website.

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