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Posts Tagged ‘video’

Content Marketing: A process for evaluating content channels

January 4th, 2013
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“Should we have a blog? What about YouTube videos? Pinterest? Instagram?”

When engaging in content marketing, the question of “where?” always comes up. If you’re just getting started, you want to know on which channels you should focus your content.

If you’re already deeply engaged in content marketing, you likely want to reevaluate the channels you’ve been using at regular intervals as shiny new channels emerge and old channels diminish. (Social networks, like old soldiers, never die; they just fade away.)

To that end, here is a process for evaluating content channels. I’d love to hear your input, as well.

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Social Media Marketing: YoCrunch boosts average Facebook post interaction 821% (plus two more case studies)

September 27th, 2012
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The Social Media Club of Dallas monthly meetings always feature a presentation on social media for attendees, and earlier this year, I had the chance to take in SMC Dallas’ case study “showcase.”

This event offered up a number of quick-hit social media case studies from a variety of marketers and agencies, and I wanted to provide MarketingSherpa blog readers with a sample of several of these presentations.

 

Local pizza chain increases ROI more than 300% with charitable effort

Background:  I Fratelli, a restaurant local pizza chain with nine locations, was preparing for its 25th anniversary. Its brand identity included charitable outreach.

Marketing Opportunity: Understand that local organizations and charities are always in need of fundraising dollars.

Strategy: Create a local social and viral community fundraiser.

Jeff Schick, Director of Integrated Digital Strategy, Online Performance Marketing, said the objective of the effort was to emotionally connect with consumers so they would feel like part of the solution in i Fratelli’s charitable fundraising marketing campaign.

The campaign consisted of five steps:

  1. Create a name/identity for the effort – in this case, “Pizza DoughNation.”
  1. Get fans excited by allowing them to nominate their favorite charities.
  1. Take an “it takes a village” approach, and leverage the networks of fans, charities and organization to spread the word. Seed code words across social media, and have consumers mention these code words during pizza orders.
  1. Measure the effort by tracking code words.
  1. Give proceeds to the charities. These check presentations were seeded on owned media, but then drove earned media.

The campaign itself used three main outlets: the website and blog, Twitter and Facebook.

The blog was branded as “The Sauce,” and offered a program overview, nomination form, best practices and tips, and past results for viewing.

Twitter was used for geotargeted and contextual conversations on pizza occasions, and content was regularly pushed out timed for lunch and dinner.  Tweets were cross-promoted to both the blog and Facebook. And, influencers were identified to propel the program’s success.

Facebook documented and housed the brand’s “giving back” strategy, and was used to develop relationships with local, regional and national chapters of charities. Also, the Facebook EdgeRank Algorithm was used to focus on an “aggressive news feed optimization strategy.”

Results

  • 3,000 unique blog visits for nominations: 86% leads driven by social media, 14% direct URL entry
  • Increased Facebook impressions over from 40,000 to 125,000 per month
  • Increased retweet rate (generosity) on Twitter from 0 to 19.4%
  • Drove ROI in the form of increased sales, ranging from 304% to 381% over first four months of program
  • Impacted 32 local charities

Key learnings and takeaways

  • Social media results are not just for big brands. SMB brands can leverage social media for attitudinal, behavioral and financial objectives.
  • Get the product, service and experience right first.
  • Get cross-functional teams involved — that way they begin to place a higher value on social media.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask fans and followers for help. Engage with the social media audience.

About the effort, Jeff said, “It wasn’t necessarily a challenge, versus an opportunity. The i Fratelli brand is known for being a part of and giving back to the Dallas-Fort Worth community for the past 25 years. The opportunity was uncovering an idea that leveraged social media to make a greater impact. Historically, the community-giving initiatives were led and funded by i Fratelli alone. By creating the Pizza DoughNation program, fans could take part in and join in on the giving back efforts.”

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Content Marketing for B2C

December 23rd, 2011
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This week’s consumer marketing newsletter article wrapped up 2011, and featured four B2C trends to watch in 2012: the mobile marketing channel, local search, online privacy and the new features in pay-per-click advertising.

These choices were based on the 80 (give or take a few) interviews with consumer marketers that my reporting colleague, Adam T. Sutton, and I conducted over the past year. One B2C trend that received serious consideration, but didn’t make it into the article, is content marketing.

Sure, content has its place in any overall marketing strategy, but I’ll bet when many marketers hear “content marketing” as a channel, they think B2B – whitepapers, lead nurturing campaigns, third-party validations within specialized industries, etc.

In fact, content is becoming an important part of consumer marketing efforts.

I’m going to present several case studies and how-to articles from this past year that illustrate just how important it truly is. (Note: MarketingSherpa articles often feature numbered tactics. In this blog post, I’ll call out several specific tactics within linked articles.)

  Read more…

Webinar How To: The 8 roles you need to fill to make your virtual event a success

July 15th, 2011
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B2B marketers are increasing their investments in inbound tactics. Don’t just take my word for it. When we surveyed 935 of your peers for the MarketingSherpa 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, 60% said they were increasing investment in virtual events and webinars.

But what does it take to produce an effective webinar? A virtual event that will grab people’s attention and encourage them to leap into your funnel, as opposed to check their email while you ramble on?

At MECLABS, we produce some pretty popular webinars. I’m not trying to brag about our crazy webinar skills. The truth is, we invest a lot of resources in these. And that’s why they’re good.

So when webinar director, Austin McCraw, presented me with an org chart of the roles that we fill during the average webinar, I thought it could be very useful to the MarketingSherpa audience.

Now, when I saw we invest a lot in these webinars, these are not full-time employees dedicated solely to webinars. Webinar director is not Austin’s official title. And on one webinar or another, I’ve filled every role we’re about to discuss. You will very likely have one person fill more than one role.

But I think this org chart may be helpful to you because it gives you an idea of all the bases you should consider covering for a successful, interactive webinar with your audience.

Producers

In Hollywood, the producer is the money man. The one investing in the film, but also ensuring it makes money (or, in Mel Brooks’ “The Producers,” loses money).

In the marketing world, the producers are likely marketing managers, product managers, and business leaders that fund the webinars with their marketing budgets, and seek to generate profitable leads or valuable lead nurturing from the webinars.

It is crucial to ensure producers are involved in the entire webinar process, so everyone is clear on the goal for the webinar and the value your company expects to derive from it.

Director

You don’t need Spielberg, but you do need one central decision maker. Webinars are live productions, and as with any live event, (even when it is virtual) things can and do go wrong. You need someone who is quick on their feet and has the guts to be able to call the tough shots. Your Internet connection died. The slides aren’t advancing. The audio isn’t working. What do you do? Quick, you have 12 seconds to decide before your audience starts dropping off the webinar.

Writer/Stage Director

A good webinar is filled with well-thought out content that guides your audience through a logical thought sequence, much like a film or story would. You need to not only create that content, but prep your presenters for exactly how to deliver it. Virtual stage blocking, if you will.

Technical Director

You can’t host a webinar without technology. And as with any technology, it helps to actually know how to use it. You’re far less likely to have a Skype chat pop-up that reveals company secrets live to the audience if you actually know what you’re doing and don’t have to ask “what does that red button do?”

Our setup for the MarketingExperiments Web clinic is quite complex, complete with a mixing board, handheld and wireless microphones, and an Apple computer running Final Cut Pro to capture the live audio for our Web clinic replays.

You don’t need to go to this level. But you do need to know, or have someone who knows, how to actually use the webinar platform.

Audience Supervisor

Sure, you could drone on for an hour about all the features and benefits of your product. Or, you could actually respect your audience (and capture their attention), by including them as much as possible in the webinar. That is, after all, the benefit to your audience of taking an hour from their busy day and actually attending a live event.

The audience supervisor not only tries to maximize interaction points with the audience, but also monitors the audience’s feedback and reactions to constantly make the course corrections needed to optimize the performance while the webinar is being conducted.

A good speaker naturally does this before a live audience, gauging the reaction – from boredom to engagement – and changing the presentation as she goes. This is harder, but not in possible, in a virtual event, so your presenters are going to need a little help and guidance.

Main Presenter

The main presenter is essentially a moderator. Someone who can act as an advocate for the audience. He’s Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, Oprah Winfrey, Terry Gross, Bill Maher, Ira Glass. The kind of person that can relate what a technical expert is saying to novice listeners.

Another important skill is the ability to tie disparate parts of the presentation together into a natural flow with well thought-out segues. And, with the audience supervisor’s help, tie in audience comments, questions, and other interaction.

All very naturally. All part of the flow. All part of the show.

Presenters

Your practitioners and subject matter experts are why people tune in to being with. But they’re not necessarily expert presenters. And that’s one reason why you have everybody else in this org chart. To support these guys…your well-coddled stars.

The main presenter may certainly well be one of your subject matter experts or practitioners, but it takes the right set of skills and the right personality to pull both roles off well.

Monitors

The monitors support the audience supervisor and, based on your resources, they all may be one and the same. They engage with your audience using virtual platforms – responding to questions, probing the audience for feedback and interaction, providing supplementary resources, and solving problems. We’ve found that the Q&A function in the webinar platform, along with a hashtag on Twitter, are good platforms for interacting with our audience.

You should also have a technical monitor making sure the audio and slides of the webinar are streaming well and actually working. It could be someone in a different room or even a different city. Your other monitors should pick up on this if they’re listening to audience feedback, but it never hurts to know something isn’t working before your audience starts complaining.

Related resources

Marketing Webinar Optimization: Five questions to ask yourself about webinars

New to B2B Webinars? Learn 6 steps for creating an effective webinar strategy

Free webinar, Wednesday, July 20 — Copywriting on Tight Deadlines: How ordinary marketers are achieving 200% gains with a step-by-step framework (educational funding provided by HubSpot)

Free webinar, Thursday, July 28 — How to create engaging content for successful lead generation

Social Media Marketing: How to optimize the customer experience to benefit from word-of-mouth advertising

April 14th, 2011
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Do you know the problem with the customer experience? It doesn’t have a media sales rep.

So no one is taking you out to a nice lunch, plying you with semi-fine wine while slowly separating you from your budget and increasing your media spend on it.

However, that doesn’t mean that the customer experience doesn’t generate media for you. We live in a digital age where you must assume that every customer is also a publisher. So, if you invest in your customers, you can gain significant positive media exposure. Fail to invest? You can get significant exposure as well…it just won’t be as brand-friendly as those TV spots you just bought.

So, while businesses are expected to spend $214.3 billion on advertising in 2011(according to SNL Kagan), what return will they get for their investment? In recent research by Satmetrix, only four percent of Americans said they trust advertising the most as an information source when choosing products or services. The top choice? Independent sources (83 percent), especially those with whom they have personal relationships.

While recent research from Experian (warning: there is a squeeze page) disagrees on the exact number, it reaffirms the importance of winning over your customers. It states, “Despite consumer reliance on digital devices and Internet-provided information, the most influential element driving purchase decisions today is still word-of-mouth.”

Experian found that 54 percent of consumers chose word-of-mouth as highly influential to their purchase decisions. Of course, this shouldn’t be news to you. You probably learned about word-of-mouth in Marketing 101.

But, a lot has changed since then. As stated above, every customer you have is now likely a publisher as well. So now there is even word-of-mouth advertising from people your consumers have never even met. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “nearly six-in-ten adults (58%) have done research online about the products and services they buy, and about a quarter (24%) have posted comments or reviews online about the things they buy.”

So, how do you optimize the customer experience to get the most from word-of-mouth advertising today?

There is no one right answer, of course. I asked around a little in this vast, resourceful marketing community of ours. Read on for a few tips, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well…

Your customers can see right through your marketing so you might as well let them

“When a company is humble enough to admit a weakness, they immediately distinguish themselves from the competition. It opens the door for a trust relationship.

The consumer is all too aware of the fact that we are not perfect. To pretend otherwise only serves to raise their suspicion. Tell them what you can’t do, and they’ll believe you when you tell then what you can do.”

– Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director (CEO), MECLABS



Transparent marketing is essential. According to the Satmetrix study, 20 percentof those who defected a company did so because of unfair fees or charges.

“Companies still need to advertise to create market awareness, but market trends such as the increased use of social media networks and consumer reviews online are all increasing transparency about the actual experiences that companies deliver, and what customers think of them,” John Abraham, general manager of Net Promoter programs at Satmetrix, said. “You just can’t hide any longer behind bad quality. Advertising and marketing messages need to line up with customers’ real experiences. So, first and foremost, you have to get the experience right.”

We’ll talk about getting that experience right in just a minute. But first, how do you ensure that your advertising and marketing messages are transparent and truly reflect what your customer is experiencing? You don’t want to be the Comical Ali of your company, claiming victory while the facts on the ground so clearly conflict with your messages. And while he may have literally had a gun to his head, forcing him to make ridiculous claims…you don’t. You have a choice.

As I’ve said before in these (Web) pages, I think Transparent Marketing: How to earn the trust of a skeptical consumer is an excellent guide, but, in full transparency, it is written by the man who signs my paychecks – Dr. Flint McGlaughlin.

So, I also wanted to get a perspective from someone outside of MECLABS and provide a very granular example that you could apply to your marketing efforts today. I asked Ryan Deutsch, VP of Strategic Services, StrongMail, about transparency in email marketing. He said that “welcome programs offer the best opportunity for transparency” and offered these specific tips:

  • Provide examples of the types of messages the subscriber will be receiving
  • Provide an overview of the frequency of communication and give the consumer the opportunity to set preferences around cadence
  • Provide an explanation of how data is captured within the email program and how that is used to create more targeted and relevant messages
  • Explain the privacy policy of the brand
  • Explain the opt-out and unsubscribe options

Don’t dictate, discover

“It is the customer who determines what a business is. For it is the customer, and he alone, who through being willing to pay for a good or for a service, converts economic resources into wealth, things into goods. What the business thinks it produces is not of first importance – especially not to the future of the business and to its success. What the customer thinks he is buying, what he considers “value,” is decisive – it determines what a business is, what it produces and whether it will prosper.”

– Peter Drucker, The Practice of Management



In Peter Drucker’s day, it was far more difficult to determine what the customer considered valuable. Today, you have almost instant access to that information in many different ways:

  • Test your value proposition – You can test and measure your value proposition in real-time under real-world conditions with your actual customers using PPC ads
  • Actually ask your customers – Use automated exit surveys, ensure your sales and customer service teams track customer interactions in a CRM system, engage in one-on-one conversations in user forums, or use technology in some other creative way to pick your customers’ brains.
  • Listen to what they say – Social media monitoring has become a very powerful tool to learning from your customers. Of course, don’t stop at listening to customers and discovering what they want, use social media to respond as well. For example…

I asked Joe Chernov, VP of Content Marketing, Eloqua how he uses social media to discover what customers want and nurture word-of-mouth advertising. As co-chair of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s Ethics Panel, he knows a thing or two about the topic. Here’s what he had to say…

“All customers are not created equal. Those who engage with you on social channels are far more likely to be your brand advocates. In fact, at Eloqua, a client who engages with us on any social network is 450 percent more likely to be a brand promoter than our baseline client. This self-selecting group is a collection of ambassadors-in-waiting.  The key to unlocking their word-of-mouth is as simple as connecting with them on a personal level on their social channel of choice. That’s really all it takes.”

Truly serve your customers

“We learn whatever skills we need to service the customer. We build whatever technology we need to service the customer.”

– Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon



Think about Amazon for a moment. They mostly sell books and other stuff (lots of stuff) through an e-commerce store. Yet, out of seemingly nowhere, they launched their own hardware device – the Kindle. We take it for granted now, but for an e-commerce store to launch a hardware device in a segment that barely existed before it entered the market is quite revolutionary.

Why take that leap of faith? To truly serve the customer.

How can you truly serve your customers? After all, you’re likely not Jeff Bezos. You likely only have control over a small patch of territory in your overall company.

And yet, that patch is likely the tip of the spear in terms of customer interaction. You are in the unique position to discover and then shine a light on issues that really matter to your customers, to ensure that there is true value in your marketing propositions.

I asked Dave Ewart, Senior Director of Marketing, Satmetrix how marketers can achieve this. Satmetrix, the company behind the study referenced above, makes a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships. Ewart said that successful customer-centric marketers:

  1. Continuously collect and analyze data about customer interactions and customer satisfaction, and they use automated customer listening and feedback systems;
  2. Track and measure word-of-mouth online, and identify and support customer advocates;
  3. Share data from customer interactions across organizational departments; this helps them strengthen relationships with customers and sometimes even uncovers untapped markets; and
  4. Lead a company-wide commitment to addressing and resolving customer issues and problems.

Don’t consider anything that impacts the customer “not my problem.” It’s you who made the promise upfront with your impressive marketing campaigns. So, it better be you who ensures that your company delivers on that promise with an exceptional customer experience.

If not, your customers hold the trump card. Advertising even more successful than yours. Word-of-mouth.

Related Resources

Hoax Marketing: Your brand comes first, humor second, even on April Fool’s Day

Social Media Marketing: Turning social media engagement into action at Threadless

The Last Blog Post: How to succeed in an era of transparent marketing

Inbound Marketing newsletter – Free Case Studies and How To Articles from MarketingSherpa’s reporters

Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook

Photo attribution: hansvanrijnberk

Hoax Marketing: Your brand comes first, humor second, even on April Fool’s Day

April 7th, 2011
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A priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into a bar. And the priest says, “Hey, if we use FourSquare, we’ll save 50% off an appetizer.”

Ugh. It’s pretty hard to mix humor and marketing. It doesn’t mean marketers don’t try every day. Some are wildly successful (Mr. Rolling Cooler Cooler Roller), while others fall flat. Some are even worse…

How to lose customers and alienate people

Gilbert Gottfried was recently fired by Aflac because he brought disgrace to a talking duck. No small task. But the problem was, Gilbert Gottfried was thinking like a comedian, not a marketer. And perhaps Gottfried can be excused, because he’s not really a marketer. He’s been doing standup since he was 15. Job #1 for a comedian is to get the laugh. No matter how inappropriate the joke is, if it’s funny, it’s a success.

Not so for marketers. Job #1 is to sell the product. If you can make a funny ad that sells the product, that’s great. If you can make a boring ad that sells the product, that’s great too. But, never, ever produce anything that alienates your customers. Perhaps the hardest day to successfully walk this tightrope is on April Fool’s Day.

I had loads of fun viewing, dissecting and joking about all of the April Fool’s Day promotions, and I’m sure many of you did as well. But, after a few days, I tried to put on a sober face and a marketer’s hat and analyze these hoaxes – which are essentially marketing promotions – for their possible affect on their target audience. Here’s my Monday morning quarterback analysis of one classic, two recent high performers, and one I think is in serious need of improvement…

Taco Liberty Bell

Click to enlarge

The year was 1996. Back then, the national debt was a pressing problem (you may have to strain a little to imagine a time like that).

The Punchline: Taco Bell is buying the Liberty Bell to pitch in and help with the debt. Thanks to this purchase, it will also be rename this national icon “Taco Liberty Bell” and display it in Taco Bell’s corporate headquarters (Historic sidenote: Since the Internet wasn’t as widely adopted back then, Taco Bell used something our forefathers called a “print ad” to communicate this hoax).

Get it? Because… Taco Bell is at the forefront of groundbreaking marketing campaigns, and marketers will put their names on anything to turn a quick buck.

Analysis: I included this classic example so we could compare this year’s efforts to what marketers were doing before all April Fool’s hoaxes were essentially carried out online. See, it was still possible.

Also, because this was one of my all-time favorites. Probably because “Taco Liberty Bell” is just such a great line, and as a writer I’m a real sucker for great lines. (Writer’s sidenote: Supposedly, the sole reason Jerry Seinfeld made “Bee Movie” was because he loved the punny title).

But, upon thinking about this more, was it really effective? According to Wikipedia, “The campaign cost just $300,000, but it generated an estimated $25 million equivalent in free publicity, with a sales increase exceeding $1 million for the first two days in April.”

It even became a bit of a meme in its day, with then-White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry saying that the government was also “selling the Lincoln Memorial to Ford Motor Company and renaming it the Lincoln-Mercury Memorial.” (Historic sidenote: Ya see, there used to be a Ford brand named Mercury…)

David Paine, Founder of PainePR, the public relations agency that executed the campaign, feels that the climate today is much more cautious and a comparable prank is not possible. Also, it’s harder to stick out with so many companies pulling April Fool’s Day pranks. It’s just become expected.

So, let’s forget those impressive numbers for a second, and try to decipher the messaging. The underlying joke is that Taco Bell is a great marketer. But, is that really its value proposition? My guess is that Taco Bell’s value prop is more along the lines of – “cheap, fast food that’s not a burger.” And this marketing hoax doesn’t convey that idea at all.

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe Taco Bell would prefer customers focus on the marketing than what’s in the food.

Now on to three examples from April Fool’s Day 2011…

Gmail Motion

The Punchline: No longer are you confined to a mouse and keyboard, great inventions at the time. You can now improve productivity and increase physical activity by typing email with your body motions.

Get it? Because… Google is coming out with so many new, free, cool beta products, you never know what they’re going to come out with next.

Click to enlarge

Analysis: To me, this one is the flat out funniest. I love the main video. The deadpan guy dancing around to write his email messages not only cracked me up…but my daughter as well. Plus, I noticed one of our developers had the Motion Guide posted on his wall. If you can get a writer, a developer, and a 2nd grader, that is a pretty wide demo you’re appealing to.

Overall, I think this prank ties very nicely into Google’s main value prop, which I would guess is “But we, somehow some way, keep coming up with funky cool technology like every single day.” And I think supporting the brand and the main value proposition is essential for everything a marketing department produces, even a prank.

If I had to find fault, though, this perhaps draws some attention to the technological prowess of Google’s main competitors – Apple and Microsoft.

After all, developing a product so you no longer have to use “outdated technologies like the keyboard and mouse” could also refer to touch screen technology, where Apple’s iOS and iPad seem to be beating Google’s Android touch screen operating system pretty handily.

Also, what Google is treating as so difficult and science ”fictiony” as to be an outlandish joke is a reality for customers of Microsoft’s Kinect, “a controller-free gaming and entertainment experience,” in a quote that must have been written by a team of lawyers in Redmond. It’s actually a pretty cool-looking response to the Wii from Microsoft’s Xbox gaming system, a sensor device that picks up motion for a whole-body gaming experience.

Of course, Kinect is just for games, right? Well, some hackers at USC gave Microsoft some nice press off of the Gmail Motion prank by combining Kinect with software they’ve developed to make what seemed ludicrous on April Fool’s Day a reality just a few days later.

Starbucks Mobile Pour

Click to enlarge

The Punchline: Can’t wait to walk to the next corner to get to a Starbucks? You can use a new smartphone app to have a barista on a scooter deliver your cup of coffee to you.

Get it? Because… There is no spot on Earth that is more than 12 seconds away from a Starbucks location. We’re almost too convenient.

Analysis: This ties in very nicely with Starbucks brands and reinforces the main value prop of “much cooler than the average cup of coffee and you can find us everywhere.” Plus, the underlying theme without saying it is…really, you’re getting your coffee at McDonald’s? Would their headquarter people even know what a smartphone is? Or a scooter? Or a decent cup of coffee?

If I had to find fault with this…it’s just not very funny. Yeah, the overall concept is amusing. But they didn’t spend much time on the execution. I think Starbucks was a little nervous about going too far out on the limb. This was even posted by “April F.”

And now, on to a bad attempt at humor…

Insects Raised with Compassion

The Punchline: There’s not one main joke, just a fake Whole Foods Market homepage with headlines like “Insects Raised with Compassion,” “Save Money With Refurbished Spices,” turning the lights off in the store for Earth Day, etc.

Get it? Because… I’m stumped. Best I could come up with is – You’re an idiot forpaying so much for our foods and your environmental leanings should be derided as well.

Click to enlarge

Analysis: To me, this one is a huge fail. I’d say Whole Foods’ value prop is nicely stated right under the logo on their website “Selling the highest quality natural & organic products.” This prank totally undercuts the value prop…and the brand.

I may be harsh because it cuts a little close to home. I shop at Whole Foods. I’m dead center in their target demographic. They make nice margins on food because their customers have deep-seated, eco-friendly values and are looking for healthier food than they could find in the supermarket. Also, occasionally, a little something special, more artisan than Kraft Mac & Cheese at a normal grocer.

And yet, Whole Foods undercuts all of this. This April Fool’s Day prank mocks environmentalists by saying it will shut off all the lights in its store on Earth Day, so you better bring a flashlight or buy one of its “torches of 100% reclaimed wood.” This is clearly based on Earth Hour, a very serious attempt by the World Wildlife Fund to prod action on climate change.

“Insects Raised with Compassion” belittles anyone who would buy more expensive meat because it was raised under more humane conditions. Refurbished spices with “favorite flavors that won’t break the bank” makes me think I might as well buy McCormick in a regular grocery store than fork over the extra bucks to Whole Foods. And the joke about artisan cheese lip balms…maybe artisan cheeses are ridiculous? Maybe I should just stick to the Publix deli?

Look, I can take a joke. I’m not seriously offended. But, remember, the point of marketing is to push product, not to get people to laugh. If this was a standup comedian like Gilbert Gottfried, he could rightly say, “It’s funny. Get over yourself.” But Whole Foods’ job isn’t to be funny; it’s to sell expensive food. This marketing hoax does not do that. It undercuts the brand Whole Foods has worked so hard (and spent so much money) to build.

It’s “The Simpsons” job to make fun of Whole Foods customers, not the Whole Foods marketing department.

Of course, it’s easier to burn down a house than build a new one, so what do I think would be a good marketing hoax from Whole Foods? How about joke that they’ve opened a new organic factory farm where they can now mass produce organic products? Show videos of workers assembling artisanal foods on a Detroit factory assembly line? This would underscore Whole Foods brand, not undercut it. They would be saying, “The joke is on the people who buy the mass-produced ‘food’ product and don’t buy our stuff.”

Laugh with your customers, never at them.

Related Resources

Marketing Wisdom: In the end, it’s all about…

Marketing Career: You must be your company’s corporate conscience

Top Online Marketing Lessons of 2010: What worked and what didn’t in the last 365 days of experimentation –Web Clinic Replay

Free MarketingSherpa Newsletters

Email Marketing: Maybe it really is an inbound tactic…

March 3rd, 2011
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I’m a huge skeptic by nature. Moon landing? Pshh. More like a studio production in Houston. But, Karen Rubin really won me over with this talk at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit…

Our own Adam T. Sutton recently wrote about this topic on the MarketingSherpa blog – Email Marketing: An inbound tactic?

Skeptic that I am, I had Adam thoroughly tone down that post. I did not buy into email marketing as an inbound tactic.

“Bah, all vendors just try to show how everything they could possibly make money from fits into their branded word of the day. Now get me photos of that Spiderman!” I said in my best grumpy editor voice.

But, when Karen Rubin, Product Owner, HubSpot, spoke at Email Summit 2011, she said something that really made my ears perk up (about seven minutes into the above video)…

“Those house email lists, that’s really inbound marketing. When you think about it, those are people asking to hear from you. They want to get more information. So, you’re not interrupting them when you go in their inboxes.”

Inbound & Down

So, basically there are two opposing schools of thought circling around the Interwebs right now:

  • “Email is dying” and on its way down
  • Email marketing, at least when done right, is really inbound marketing – a hot and growing marketing tactic

Or perhaps both are true? List buying is dying, while house lists continue to be effective?

In your experience as a professional marketer, which statement do you think is the most true:

  • Email is going the way of bell bottoms and Hammer pants
  • Email marketing is a form of inbound marketing – hot, profitable, muy caliente
  • Email marketing isn’t one thing – list buying is dying, but house lists are as profitable as ever (Kaching!)

(We welcome you to use the comments section and tell us which of the three statements you think is the most accurate and why)

Related resources

Optimization Summit 2011 – June 1 -3

Free MarketingSherpa Inbound Marketing Newsletter

Real-time Marketing: Crowdsourced video of keynote from MarketingSherpa Email Summit

MarketingSherpa’s 3rd Annual German Email Marketing Summit – March 21-22, 2011

Growing Email Lists with Social Media

The Role of Email Marketing in an Inbound Marketing World – Karen Rubin

Real-time Marketing: Crowdsourced video of keynote from MarketingSherpa Email Summit

March 1st, 2011
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So it’s early morning breakfast time at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit in Las Vegas…day 2. Being the grumpy morning person I am, I’m just stumbling over to try to grab one of those tasting looking Danishes when our keynote speaker, David Meerman Scott, comes up to me very excited about a video idea, something that vaguely reminded me of the Beastie Boys.

Now, when a guy of David’s caliber has an idea, I want to hear it…and share it with you. Well, actually, let me just show you a trailer for what he came up with…

As I said when I introduced David at the Email Summit, we brought him in to help inspire marketers to take a fresh look at how they approach their marketing efforts. And kudos to David for holding himself to the same standard, breaking down the paradigm of what a professional speaker’s video could look like.

If you like the above trailer, feel free to watch the complete keynote speech, which was just released today.

As marketers, sometimes we get so tied up in a campaign mentality, a mode of working that dates back to the days of print and broadcast, of setting your marketing, days, weeks, even months ahead of time with no ability to make changes. In the age of the Internet and social media, David suggests you can no longer approach marketing in a “set it and forget it” fashion.

His keynote is a fitting example of the John Maynard Keynes quote, “The difficulty lies, not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones.”

Related resources

MarketingSherpa MarketingExperiments Optimization Summit 2011 – June 1 -3

MarketingSherpa’s 3rd Annual German Email Marketing Summit – March 21-22, 2011

Real-Time Marketing: David Meerman Scott at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2011

MarketingSherpa 2011 Email Marketing Awards

Email Marketing: Why should I help you?

Jujitsu Marketing: How B2B marketers leveraged Super Bowl buzz (minus the media buy)

February 10th, 2011
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The Super Bowl isn’t only the Super Bowl of football, but the Super Bowl of marketing as well.

Big splashy ads. Massive media spends. And tons of buzz in the media, both print and social.

Ah, but pity the poor B2B marketer. While she can probably find the budget to land a spot on the big game (most memorable for me – the EDS cowboys and their cat herding adventures), she isn’t selling sodas or cars, so she can’t get a big-name celebrity to pitch industrial plumbing equipment or enterprise telephone software.

Or can she? Salesforce.com hired The Black Eyed Peas (personally, the first person that come to my mind when I think of a real-time, enterprise collaboration platform is apl.de.ap) in its recent Super Bowl spots. Sounds like a lot of fun, but was there ROI? Considering they spent “big numbers” it’s quite hard to judge.

Jujitsu Marketing

Aside from having big numbers and black-eyed peas on your side, can your B2B marketing efforts benefit from a major consumer event like the Super Bowl? I’d argue, yes. For the sake of this blog post, and to parrot every other marketing blogger who is much better than me at branding their own terms, let’s call these attempts Jujitsu Marketing (perhaps a subset of real-time marketing).

In case you’re not familiar, jujitsu is a martial art designed to use an (often better equipped) enemy’s energy against him, instead of directly fighting it. Jujitsu Marketing (and I’m just making this up off the top of my head, as I type so there are no hard and fast rules) uses the energy created by a (most likely) larger marketer in the consumer realm to grab some B2B attention and buzz.

Here are two examples, one for Enterprise and one for SMB B2B marketers. One example leverages a partner’s energy, the other example leverages a competitor.

ENTERPRISE B2B MARKETING: USING EMAIL TO ENGAGE B2B AUDIENCE ON A SUNDAY

As I mentioned above, BEP was selling B2B during SB XLV. What I saw as bizarre, the always clever marketers at Marketo saw as a marketing opportunity to ask their email list if this was, in fact, bizarre.

“A few of my colleagues read that Salesforce.com had purchased commercial slots during the Super Bowl halftime show one week before airtime. We were impressed that Salesforce.com would invest millions of dollars to promote Chatter.com via a medium dominated by B2C companies,” remarked Shonal Narayan, Manager, Marketing Programs, Marketo.

“Having this prior knowledge, we debated amongst ourselves if this [email send] was a good investment. Feeling compelled to ask what other marketers would think about the ad, we came up with the idea of a poll right after the ads aired live, so it was still fresh in people’s minds.”

click image to enlarge

There were two landing pages to confirm to recipients that the poll voting had been captured, one for the “yes” and one for the “no.”

Narayan’s team followed up with a results email the next day to everyone that participated in the poll. It drove people to a landing page that encourage people to tweet. The landing pages for the initial email send were also redirected to the results URL, so anybody clicking the initial poll email after the results were sent would see the results from the poll.

click image to enlarge


Keep mobile in mind

When leveraging a consumer event, keep in mind that your B2B audience likely doesn’t have a bulky gray Dell on their lap when engaging in the activity.

“[We] ultimately decided to use a single-click poll embedded within the email to make it easy for the people viewing the email on their mobile device. Just a simple ‘click yes or no’,” Narayan said.

The results: Marketo, B2B Super Bowl advertising win

“We conduct many A/B tests, and we’ve found that Sunday emails (especially P.M. sends) do not perform well. However, this campaign did particularly well. We wanted to give a buffer after the halftime ads had been shown, so I scheduled it to send at 5:40pm PT,” Narayan said.

Here are the results from Narayan’s team:

  • Email sent to more than 20,000 marketers in the US and Canada.
  • 13.5% open rate, yielding a 16.5% click to open rate.
  • More than 680 respondend to the poll (which is more than the initial click performance reveals, indicating that marketers were forwarding the email on to colleagues and friends)

And the results of the poll itself? Personally, I thought the Salesforce.com ads were ridiculous. After all, the only thing Will.i.am and Salesforce.com have in common is dots in their name. But in the end, 63 percent agreed that B2B advertising is a good idea. Ouch. Hard to argue with data.

Or Narayan, who disagreed with me as well. “I think it was a good idea. I like how the ads were at the bookends of the halftime show, integrating the performers into the ads. I like how Salesforce.com stayed consistent with Will.i.am as somewhat of a spokesperson, as he appeared at their Dreamforce event.”

Surely, Narayan at least agrees with my newly branded term, Jujitsu Marketing, to describe his efforts?

“It wasn’t so much Marketo leveraging someone else’s name and investment to draw attention to our brand, we were excited and supportive of a SaaS company finally breaking through and attempting to become a household name,” Narayan stated.

Ah, well, so maybe the term isn’t as fitting when you’re playing off of a partner’s efforts. So let’s take a look at how an SMB marketer leveraged a competitor’s Super Bowl ads. From my past work, the Competitive Sales Office always seemed to have the most fun…

SMB B2B MARKETING: WEB 2.0 REVS UP SOME EXCITEMENT

GoDaddy.com has been advertising to the SMB in the Super Bowl since 2005. And, supposedly because of these ads, has garnered a 50 percent market share of domain registrations. This year, it focused on selling a new top-level domain (.co).

So, what’s the Jujitsu Marketing move against Danica Patrick and a $3 million media buy? Cloris Leachman and social media.

You read that right. On their Go Granny microsite, Network Solutions posted a “mockumentary” YouTube video of Cloris Leachman doing three minutes of sexual innuendo jokes, followed by (I couldn’t make this up) an interstitial titled “Get Serious,” and then an actual serious minute with Lisa Stone, Co-founder & CEO, BlogHer.com. The video was also posted to other sites, such as Metacafe.com and Frequency.com.

You can check out that microsite at http://gogranny.co but, fair warning since this is a family marketing blog, it features Frau Blücher as you’ve never (wanted to) seen her before, including licking a man’s hand and discussing her chest.

But this was not a one-channel effort. The campaign included a variety of elements:

  • Banner ads
  • Media outreach
  • Web 2.0 “share” functionality (via email, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Twitter promotion on #GoGranny

According to Shashi Bellamkonda, Social Media Swami, Network Solutions, all of these channels had a consistent message, tightly timed around the celebration of the Super Bowl and launch of Go Daddy’s new Go Daddy Girl commercial.

Monday morning quarterbacking on the video creative aside, let’s take a look at how this Jujitsu Marketing campaign did on the field. To the results…

Results: Aaron Rodgers, Cloris Leachman have reason to celebrate

Since launching on the Friday before the Super Bowl, the campaign has generated the following impressions as of 10 a.m. EST on Tuesday:

  • Twitter – 18,026,251
  • Blogs – 14,688,221
  • Video – 8,332,625

It also had a viral element:

  • Facebook – 2,000 shares
  • Twitter—1,680 retweets

And most importantly…

  • 500% increase in .co sales (based on historical data from previous weekends – since .co is relatively new, there is no apples-to-apples comparison for last year’s Super Bowl weekend).

“The success of the campaign also stemmed from Network Solutions years of listening, community engagement and community building strategies through social media,” Bellamkonda said.

MAKE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITY

So, B2B marketers, there is no need to sit glumly on the sidelines and watch as your consumer marketing peers bask in the glow of big-time events like the Super Bowl. If you can’t find budget or justification for hiring pop stars to pitch your products in prime-time, slip on your Jujitsu Marketing belts and get to work.

“Instead of investing millions of dollars in Super Bowl ads, we leveraged the power of the Internet to promote our brand, like we do for our small business customers every day. With a little bit of creativity and the support of an online community we’re letting the masses know that as a company, we like to have some fun, but when it comes to our customers, we take their business seriously,” Sanjay Gupta, Head of Marketing, Network Solutions.

Related resources

Lead generation: Real-time, data-driven B2B marketing and sales

B2B Marketing: Marketing automation helps with lead nurturing and management

B2B Lead Generation: Increasing leads 296% by analyzing Web traffic — Case Study

Free MarketingSherpa B2B Marketing Newsletter – Weekly demand generation and lead nurturing case studies

jujitsu photo by:  saia.neogaia

Powerful Viral Video from Old Spice

July 16th, 2010
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Old Spice wrapped up a phenomenal viral marketing campaign this week that significantly leveraged social media channels, just as MarketingSherpa published our 2010 Viral and Social Marketing Hall of Fame.

What started as a funny Super Bowl Ad featuring a spokesman with an over-the-top ego and a penchant for manly nonsense turned into millions of views on YouTube this winter. The agency behind the ad, Wieden+Kennedy, followed up with additional videos, but the effort didn’t stop there.

For two days this week, the agency posted dozens of video responses to comments on Old Spice’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter profiles. Every response is a unique, hilarious video of the Old Spice spokesman, actor Isaiah Mustafa, standing in a towel in front of a shower.

The videos are steeped in the same humor as the initial ads — supplying dozens of additional videos to an audience that expressed a strong craving for them. They also gave the campaign an exciting, real-time creative edge by directly interacting with the audience and quickly churning out videos.

To further the campaign’s reach, the team posted video responses to celebrities and other folks with major online followings, including:
o Perez Hilton — celebrity gossip blogger
o George Stephanopoulos — ABC News journalist
o Gizmodo — technology blog
o Alyssa Milano — American actress
o Kevin Rose — founder of Digg and other startups

Responding to these gatekeepers with personalized, high-profile and hilarious videos proved flattering enough to earn mentions in their respective media outlets. This brought the campaign to new audiences, further building the viral snowball.

Iain Tait, Global Interactive Creative Director, Wieden+Kennedy, told Kai Ryssdal on American Public Media’s Marketplace that the effort “certainly makes people kind of consider Old Spice in a new light again. And that has certainly been brought out in some of the conversations that we’re seeing online.”

With such a stunning viral success, where does the campaign go from here?

UPDATE 7/28: The campaign is proving to be a smashing success. Nielsen reports sales of Old Spice Body Wash increased 107% over the past month and 55% over the last three months, according to Brandweek.