This is a provocative video presenting a different view of the impact of the ‘filter bubble’. With all the changes in search engines happening at lightening speed, it begs the question of whether we are really understanding the full scope – good and bad. Is anyone bothered by having searches filtered based on algorithms about where you are, what computer you’re using or what browser you use, or do you think this just makes marketing more effective? Watch the video and let us know what you think.
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I wrote a marketing article on brand integrity as it relates to media delivery options for a business publication and thought I’d share the information here as well.
Take a look at the explosive changes in communication over the past few years, then glimpse at what is just around the corner, and you can see why businesses are left feeling a bit boggled by the choices of where to strategically place their marketing messages. For seasoned marketing veterans (who are no longer “baby-boomers” but “digital immigrants”; only those under the age of 25 are “digital natives”), media choices such as blogs, RSS feeds, online social networking and even product placement in movies are a brave new world.
Recent studies don’t always agree on the exact number, but the majority show that the average American is exposed to an estimated 3,000 ad messages a day. This is a clear warning bell alerting us to the need for clarity and consistency in the marketing message. If you are confusing what you say and where you say it, you have just thrown away a good percentage of your marketing investment.
With the number of marketing media choices available, how do you decide? Some argue that traditional media outlets (TV, Radio, Outdoor, Print) are no longer reliable. Any number of news articles related to trends will tell you that these are obsolete – too many messages bombarding us, consumers with demands for multi-sensory communications, and an ever-present drive for the latest in technology are to blame. Yet, we still read books, newspapers and magazines, watch TV, look at billboards, and even listen to the radio. But the reality is “new media” like blogs, podcasts, webinars, mobile-communication programming, RSS feeds and social networking are part of the mix too and can be an effective part of a great marketing program.
Companies sometimes become sidetracked by the ever-expanding methods to distribute their messages and lose sight of communicating their core tactics, focusing instead on where to communicate instead of what they are communicating. So what? It’s tempting to get caught up using new media to spread a marketing message, especially if you are targeting all those savvy digital natives. But companies run into quicksand when they lose sight of the branding basics. Brand integrity remains critical no matter what medium is used to deliver the message. That’s why it’s more important now to maintain a firm grip on your core message while navigating the world of multipoint delivery channels. Apple® is a great example of a strong brand using ALL media effectively to communicate their brand message. Inarguably a world leader in new media technology, they still use traditional distribution channels as part of their media mix. Apple® never confuses the message of who they are, what their benefits are, and always focus on their target audience.
Whenever a company is developing its marketing program, targeting the message to the core audience is crucial. What do you do best? What makes your company’s services or products stand out? Bottom line, what’s in it for your customer? Take a page from a marketing consultant’s handbook and ask yourself these questions:
1. Are you being simple, direct and consistent in what you say about your brand? Don’t confuse your audience by sending mixed messages.
2. Is the brand name of your product sensible? A poorly conceived brand name can be devastating. Few experienced marketing strategists can forget Chevy®’s “Nova” car marketing debacle in Spanish-language markets – “No go” is NOT an effective brand name for a car.
3. Who could be taking market share from you? Don’t ever presume your competition is sleeping; be aware of their branding strategies so you can proactively compete.
4. What do you want to achieve? You can’t run the race if you don’t have a goal in sight. Know what direction and what end result you want and set a realistic time frame to get there.
5. Are you willing to stay on course AND be flexible? There is no such thing as an ‘overnight success’ whether it be in Hollywood or in brand development. You have to be focused on your message and let loyalty build over time, but be ready to adjust as marketplace needs shift.
Spend time asking these “basic five branding questions”, doing the homework to determine the best way to deliver your message, and finally be willing to react quickly to new opportunities. Don’t be ‘wowed’ by the bells and whistles of the merely clever, but not cleverly branded or placed message. This is what separates successful branding campaigns from those that send mixed messages by wanting only to appear they are ‘everywhere’. You can create blogs if you focus on a specific message directed to your target audience, and even personalize your branding efforts. But it has to be consistent with your message in traditional delivery channels also. More variety of media can lead to more confusion with your message – be vigilant!
The elements of a truly great branding campaign do not change, only the way we use the rapidly changing media channels to promote the brand change. All those marketing buzzwords come down to this: simplify, be sensible, watch the competition, know your goals, stay on course and be consistent.
Omni received a direct mail piece from Yahoo! Search Marketing recently. It’s a pretty slick piece encouraging advertising agencies to sign up and use Yahoo! and their team of experts for online marketing strategies. The fun part is the push-button included in the piece that delivers the Yahoo! jingle, you know the yodel “YAHOOOOOOOO”. My co-workers love it when I continue to push the Yahoo button and that annoying, LOUD yodel reverberates through the entire workspace for all to hear (I can’t help myself, it’s too fun!). I found it interesting to see new media (Yahoo!) utilizing traditional media (direct mail) to promote their services from business to business. Even Yahoo! knows that traditional media is not dead, as many internet marketers would like to claim, but is still a viable option to reach the target audience.
I also know that both traditional and newer media can be effective in communicating our clients’ messages, and we work to develop strategies using all different kinds and combinations of media that will be effective based on the marketing goals, target audience and client budget. The only fault I find with this Yahoo! direct mailing is that we already utilize Yahoo! Search Marketing. This direct mail piece probably cost quite a bit to produce and mail, and Omni already knows the potential and benefits of search engine marketing as part of an overall campaign strategy. So maybe a little bit of Yahoo’s direct mail budget was wasted?