Marketing Maestros

The Rise of Content Marketing

By Ken Beaulieu, senior director of marketing and communications, ANA
Posted: Jan 13, 2012 12:00am ET

Marketing departments are morphing into publishing organizations right before our eyes. To help feed consumers' insatiable appetite for high-quality, emotionally compelling content across channels, some major brands are creating in-house editorial teams akin to media companies. This shrewd approach allows these brands to effectively tell their "story" in a more authentic, credible way - through white papers, article postings, podcasts, blogs, videos, and other tactics.

Indeed, at a time when two-way communication between brands and customers has replaced interruptive messaging, companies increasingly are shifting more dollars toward content marketing in an effort to educate customers about their products or services, generate leads, boost sales, increase customer retention, and build brand loyalty. Two recent surveys bear this out.

The first survey, a joint effort by the Custom Content Council and ContentWise, found that the top 100 corporate marketers spent nearly $2 million on branded content initiatives in 2011, the highest level ever. While about $450,000 was spent on electronic forms of branded content last year, publication budgets increased a whopping 68 percent. Thirty-percent of survey respondents felt their content marketing budgets would rise again this year.

A second survey, by the Content Marketing Institute (CCI) and MarketingProfs, found that nine out of 10 b-to-b marketers use content marketing to grow their business, and respondents dedicate, on average, about 26 percent of their total marketing budgets to content marketing initiatives. The most popular tactics include article posting, social media (excluding blogs), blogs, and e-newsletters, respectively.

Also interesting, 41 percent of b-to-b marketers say their greatest challenge is "producing the kind of content that engages prospects and customers," followed by "producing enough content" (20 percent), and "budgeting to produce content" (18 percent). Web traffic is the most widely used success metric (58 percent), the survey found, with sales lead quality a close second.

There is a simple reason why, more than ever, content is king: consumers not only engage with content for hours on end, they share it, blog about it, link to it, Tweet about it. And if they're not getting useful information from their favorite brands on a consistent basis, they will simply tune them out. The most successful content marketing programs embrace customer input, meet the needs of the target audience, and foster sharability.

Of course, as the CCI/MarketingProfs study points out, the staggering array of media options today can make it difficult for brands to regularly feed the content beast across multiple platforms. That's why more marketing organizations are beefing up their staff with the appropriate personnel (or working with external agencies) to create and manage content marketing initiatives - a smart move in the age of engagement.

Ashley @ the Foster City Marriott

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Jan 10, 2012 12:00am ET

It's fashionable in blogs like this to write about negative consumer experiences rather than the positive. The negative examples often are much more compelling to read! I've taken that path in past blogs on transparency in pricing and tipping. But just recently I had a very positive experience that I'd like to share.

I will be making a trip to Visa in Foster City, CA for an ANA committee meeting. There's a Marriott Courtyard literally right across the street. But alas, I waited too long and when I went to book online they were sold out. I called the central reservation number and was also told that the hotel was sold out. No room at the inn! Finally, I call the hotel directly and spoke with Ashley. Yes, the hotel was indeed sold out - ugh! I asked if a waiting list was available. Ashley told me that this was not common practice but she would be glad to start such a list and add my name to it. In the meantime, she let me know about an alternative hotel down the road. Wouldn't you know - a few hours later I got a call from Ashley as a room opened up.

How refreshing! In this era of communication overload and overworked customer service agents it was a pleasure to get such a call. Ashley's relatively small effort made a big impact and enhanced my perception of the Marriott brand overall. Well done, Ashley!

Airline Fees Becoming More Transparent

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Jan 4, 2012 12:00am ET

I blogged just yesterday about transparency in pricing and in my post-holiday email clean-up came across a relevant article from The New York Times (December 26, 2011). Kudos to the U.S. Department of Transportation for now mandating airlines to include taxes and fees in advertised prices. Previously, airlines were allowed to use an asterisk to list those fees separately, resulting in a paragraph of fine print disclaimers about charges that could add 20 percent or more to a ticket's price. Transparency in pricing is good for the consumer!

The marketing supply chain needs to link up.

By Harold S. Geller, Senior Vice President, Cross Industry Workflow, 4A’s and Managing Director, Ad-ID
Posted: Jan 3, 2012 12:00am ET

We have all heard the phrase, "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link."  Truth is, in the current marketing supply chain weak links abound! To successfully create a supply chain which transforms an antiquated linear view to the more apt supply web which a more three dimensional network of partners.

In preparing to present at the East Coast "TV of Tomorrow Show" Event, I started to contemplate the supply chain as it currently exists in the marketplace.  There is much good that emerges from a more efficient and productive marketing supply chain; however, there is a lack of understanding among Advertisers and their Agencies as to how to begin to see these benefits.

If you refer to Item 5 of The Association of National Advertisers 10 Point Marketer's Constitution (http://www.ana.net/constitution/show ) "The marketing supply chain must become more efficient and productive." 

Let's break this down:

What is a supply chain?  How does it function?  More importantly, why does it function?  According to Wikipedia, "A supply chain is a system of organizations, people, technology, activities, information and resources involved in moving a product or service from supplier to customer.  Supply chain activities transform raw materials and components into a finished product that is delivered to the end customer."

The long and short of it is that Supply Chain Excellence is what allows manufacturers to deliver to the customer.  The more efficiently and effectively it works, the more likely it is that it will function without delay, or malfunction.  To be clear, efficiency is different than effectiveness, albeit just as important.  Marketing efficiency enables us to shorten the supply chain, reduce waste and improve productivity.  The principles of digital workflow throughout the marketing process, when fully embraced by the marketing industry, will improve the accuracy of reporting and evaluation of advertising assets, affording process improvements and cost savings for everyone. 

The amount of technological innovation, regardless of the size of the organization, which needs to exist in order to be a value supply web participant, is the same.  Firms who are committed to a clear flow of information are more valuable and profitable.

Unfortunately, the entire current system is based on meeting the needs of the customer without giving much regard to the efficiency.  Supply chain leaders need to adjust their practices.  The ultimate issue here is that in Marketing and Communications we see ourselves in silos and are focused on making sure that advertisers get what they want, when they want it, for the best possible price.  Although, what we should be focusing on is ensuring that the process which delivers it from raw materials to consumer usage is efficient.  Why should we care?  Because there is untapped operating margin.

As you can see in the visual above, each user silo contains the same usage silos reinforcing interoperability.

Many of the exchanges encountered in the supply chain will therefore be between different companies that will seek to maximize their revenue within their sphere of interest, but may have little or no knowledge or interest in the remaining players in the supply chain.  More recently, the loosely coupled, self organizing network of businesses that cooperates to provide product and service offerings has been called the Extended Enterprise.  This network of firms may operate independently, for example through market mechanisms or cooperatively through businesses and contracts.

There are many other interpretations of Supply Chain Management.  The Council of supply-chain management professionals (CSMP) defined Supply Chain Management as: "(it) encompasses the planning and management of all activates involved in sourcing and procurement, conversion, and all logistics management activities.  Importantly it also includes coordination and collaboration with channel partners, which can be suppliers, intermediaries, third-party service providers, and customers.  In essence supply chain management integrates supply and demand management within and across companies.  Supply Chain Management is an integrating function with primary responsibility for linking major business functions and business processes within and across companies into a cohesive and high-performance business model.  It includes all of the logistics management activities noted above, as well as manufacturing operations, and it drives coordination of the process and activities with and across marketing, sales, product design, finance and information technology.

This brings me to the Marketers' Constitution Item 6: "The marketing ecosystem - including agencies, media, and suppliers - must become increasingly capable."

In using sophisticated technology and better sourcing tools, best-practice companies are better tuned to opportunities for supply and demand.  In spending more time on understanding and maintaining the process, costs plummet, thereby increasing the percentage of revenue.

A multidirectional supply chain gives each member a new found appreciation, understanding and value to their role in the chain.  Prohibiting the network from using new found value ultimately depreciates the supply chain itself.

As broadcasters and vendors, there is always a fear that by identifying faults in your customer's processes, your share of the budget will be reduced.  By advocating the use of Supply Chain Excellence for ads throughout the supply chain, and across media platforms, we are suggesting that a little work early in the process could make everybody's life a whole lot easier, embracing standardization without inhibiting creativity can improve marketing accountability, generate operational efficiencies, reduce human error and bring value to the Advertiser.

Do you want to be the weakest link?  I highly doubt it.


Transparency in Pricing

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Jan 3, 2012 12:00am ET

The sign read for the parking garage read, "Weekend Special, $10.14, Plus Tax." That's just twelve bucks!

I was in NYC for a recent holiday weekend outing with my family - the tree at Rockefeller Center, St. Pat's, a little shopping. We drove into the garage, got out of the car, and the attendant said, "That will be $22." I referenced the sign that drew us into the garage and was told that since we had a van, there would be an "oversize vehicle surcharge." Yes, the van is taller than the average car and a bit longer than most - but a parking space is a parking space and the van filled that space, just as an average car would fill the space. So why was I charged this extra price?

Of course I was annoyed. And at another point in my life I would have argued vehemently and perhaps used some salty language. Instead, I pointed out how the sign was misleading and gently noted how I felt a bit ripped off. After all, I had to set a good example for my family. And I immediately decided that this experience gave me great material for a blog. I now have a negative feeling about this particular garage and will likely not park there again.

We're in an age of transparency in pricing. The internet and social networks allow consumers to easily compare prices - and crow about a deal and complain about a rip off. So I am amazed when I still see a pricing "catch." A personal pet peeve of mine is travel pricing - a fare will be advertised as $199 and then there will be small print that says, "Each way based on a round trip purchase." Consumers are not stupid and will figure that out. In this case, pricing should be clear and transparent and simply be $398 round trip.

Marketers can charge whatever they want but are strongly advised to be transparent with their pricing ... or risk the wrath of consumer backlash, across their extensive social networks, as a result.

The Integrated Marketing Czar

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Dec 16, 2011 12:00am ET

An interesting finding from ANA's latest survey is that almost 30% of respondents report their companies have job titles specific to integrated marketing. This trend is accelerating as:


In a review of the ANA data base, below are just a few examples:

As reported in a previous blog, one big headline of this new research is that marketers rate the quality of their integrated marketing efforts higher now than in any of the three prior surveys on this issue. 42% rate their integrated marketing efforts as excellent or very good (versus 25% in 2008; 33% in 2006; and 21% in 2003). Perhaps the improvements have been driven by these dedicated integrated marketing positions.




By Caitlin Nitz, Knowledge & Research Specialist
Posted: Dec 12, 2011 12:00am ET

When I told my friend about a school district in Colorado that sold ad space on its students' report cards she exclaimed, "That's OOC!"

For those of you unfamiliar with the latest slang, OOC is short for "out of control," which seems like a fitting description for some of today's bizarre OOH marketing locations.

It's hard to surprise us New Yorkers with crazy new places to put ads. We're used to advertisements on our buildings, cars, stairs, elevators, and even coffee cup wrappers. Chicagoans, it seems, are not as tolerant. There has been tremendous push-back by residents after the city of Chicago sold advertising space on the iconic Wabash Avenue Bridge. Bank of America paid $4,500 to the cash-strapped city to hang seven banners on the bridge for about a month. With the ads lamented as a "visual crime" and "commercial graffiti," companies need to be careful not to push the boundaries of out-of-home too far.

What's the craziest place you have seen an ad?

Want to learn more about OOH? Check out ANA's Insight Brief, "Out-of-Home Advertising: Reaching the Consumer Everywhere."

Integrated Marketing Quality Improving!

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Dec 12, 2011 12:00am ET

 For the fourth time in the past eight years ANA has surveyed our members on their integrated marketing practices and challenges.  One big headline of that research - marketers rate the quality of their integrated marketing efforts higher now than in any of the prior surveys.  42% rate their integrated marketing efforts as excellent or very good (versus 25% in 2008; 33% in 2006; and 21% in 2003).

Why the improvement?  On the one hand, there are even more media choices available now than ever before.  That can potentially complicate integrated marketing-more options to evaluate, execute, integrate, measure; more agencies; etc.  On the other hand, many of the newer media options available-including social media, mobile, and search-provide sharper targeting than more traditional media.  In addition, metrics continue to keep improving.



Smooth Asset Workflows, Bigfoot, and UFOs

By Harold S. Geller, Senior Vice President, Cross Industry Workflow, 4A’s and Managing Director, Ad-ID
Posted: Dec 1, 2011 12:00am ET

{Bigfoot wants to know:  "People have been trying to identify me for decades.  How tough can it be to accurately identify commercial spots and programs?"}

We all have a nagging feeling all three could exist.  Many would like to believe they could be real.  All we need is some proof.  Hard evidence.  Something that could tangibly demonstrate that their existence is at least possible

Today, about 70-85% of cable network commercials are digitally delivered.  Most of the internal workflows are only partially automated, and therefore are subject to human error.  Most still require conversion and significant amounts of human intervention.

I was recently part of a distinguished panel of experts at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Annual Conference in Hollywood that explored the topic of File-based workflows.  This is the process of moving digital files, ads and long form content (movies, episodic and sports content) through stages of production to airplay with integration to business systems. 

What does that mean?  Limited human intervention, removal of tape and manual steps, as well as the reduced duplication of effort, are key components.  With the reduced duplication of effort, its two main characteristics -extra cost and increased errors- are diminished as well. 

Traditional methods are no longer adequate for distribution of media assets.  Content is consumed via the internet, over the top, mobile, digital out of home, the list goes on ad nauseam.

Where do we start?  We start at the moment of creation, the beginning of asset creation, with consistent asset identification and description, whether for commercial advertising or program content.  The descriptive information then accompanies the medium through the media assets life cycle, to the consumer.  However, at this juncture this industry standard needs to be completely implemented.  We are at a historic juncture in this area, the engineering, production and advertising, and research communities, are focused on solving these issues of file based workflows.

The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) - Track-Able Asset Cross-platform Identification (TAXI)

CIMM members include television content providers, media agencies and advertisers with a goal to promote innovation in audience measurement for television and cross-platform media in partnership with such valued institutions as the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A's) and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

In May 2011, as part of its Cross-Platform Measurement Initiative, the CIMM released the results of a Feasibility Study called "Track-Able Asset Cross-Platform Identification" (TAXI).

For the study, Ernst & Young was hired to interview different constituencies in the Media and Entertainment industry, focusing on six key attributes: Simple, Interoperable, Inextricably Bound, Extensible, Open and Global, and Cost Effective.  Ultimately the focus was to determine if it's feasible to adopt standardized guaranteed unique digital asset coding that links to descriptive information.  This standardization would allow systems to track assets throughout the media ecosystem, a unique file-based workflow.  Both Ad-ID and the Entertainment ID Registry (EIDR) possess attributes of TAXI, whereas Ad-ID identifies Ads and EIDR identifies Long Form Content.

Findings from the study show that it is both feasible and desirable by all facets contributing to the lifecycle of the media asset.  Furthermore, the industry is unequivocally ready for a common open standard approach to asset identification. 

The Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA)

Ad-ID and the AMWA have efforts underway that enable, accelerate, and support File-based advertising workflows.  The AMWA "Commercial Delivery File Format" (AS-12) , also known as the "Digital Commercial Slate" which will begin trials in early 2012, aims to insure that the same identifier should travel down through the entire commercial's lifespan, thus reducing rekeying, improving workflow, and establishing a firm foundation for reporting and analytics across all platforms.

Association of National Advertisers Marketers' Constitution

The Marketers' Constitution states: "The marketing supply chain must become more efficient and productive".  In order to achieve this everything must become digital. 

Ad-ID is the industry standard for coding and digital assets and implementing file-based workflows across the entire marketing supply chain-from commercial production through distribution and airplay.  Marketing efficiency enables us to shorten the supply chain, reduce waste and improve productivity.  Fully embraced by the marketing industry, Ad-ID improves the accuracy of reporting and evaluation of advertising assets, affording process improvements and cost savings for all involved.

Smooth asset workflows are not only useful, but are necessary when working in today's evolving media market.  The good news is that a toolkit already exists, with new tools on the horizon, to help out in making these workflows as efficient as possible.  In the words of Bigfoot's pal from another Galaxy, "With my superior intellect, it's obvious that the key to moving these 'smooth asset workflows' from the realm of myth to reality is the use of basic tools such as Ad-ID, EIDR, and AMWA "Commercial Delivery File Format".

A Year-End Deal for You on that Car!

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Nov 21, 2011 12:00am ET

On November 17 holiday decorations went up in the lobby of ANA's office building - a Christmas tree, a bunch of wreaths, and the Hanukkah menorah. 

And just a few days prior to that, I noticed the beginning of what's sure to be a barrage of television advertising from the automotive industry for year-end deals.  From the "Winter Event" to the "Holiday Event" and even the "December to Remember Sales Event."   It's only November and it feels like we're rushing the season.

In 2010 I counted eighteen (18) different automotive brands with year-end deals.  That's pretty much everybody! 

All this activity makes me wonder if such year-end sales can truly be effective.  Many of the ads seem to "bleed-into" one another with little or no differentiation from competitors.  Test - who runs the Winter Event and who has the Holiday Event? 

As we get deeper into the season, virtually every commercial pod is likely to have at least one automotive commercial and in many cases there will be multiple auto ads in the same pod.  In one instance during my viewing last year, there were four consecutive auto commercials.  Also, in a number of cases, the exact same commercial ran twice during a pod.  A lot of money will be spent in the process.

Of course, there will be some winners.   But this makes me think of the line, "zig while the others zag."  It seems like just about every automotive manufacturer is zagging.  Who will truly stand out by zigging?


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About This Blog

To complement our two leadership blogs and build dialogue on the seismic changes happening in marketing, we launched Marketing Maestros. Our in-house citizen journalists will talk about everything from marketing technology to accountability and everything in between. This blog is written for marketers by ANA's marketers whose insights are drawn from the voices of the client side marketing community.