Marketing Maestros

Inspiring Consumers Enough to Grow During a Recession

By Telisa Yancy, Director Advertising, Brand and Media
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

According to Cheryl Callan, SVP of Marketing for Weightwatchers, the "Do it Yourself" weight loss industry is a $460 Billion Dollar industry. Since its founding, Weightwatchers has competed as social business in the sub category of the industry, called weight management (this portion of the weight loss industry is a $3.7BB dollar industry).  The growth dilemma facing Weightwatcher was how to be as a "social" business when the service they provide consumers is the ultimate purchase that "can wait". 

The process that Cheryl and her agency team, led by Nick Brien of McCann Worldwide, involved getting back to it's roots and becoming relevant by getting out of the persuasion business and going back to providing a platform and the tools for consumers to inspire each other to achieve their weight loss goals. 

Like many of the other speakers on day one of this year's conference, unlocking success for Weight Watchers required that the team take risk and adapt quickly if the early indicators did not show signs of success.  The Weight Watchers team learned that some creative executions test well but they do not change consumer behavior or improve sales, and therefore had to be scrapped.  The other risk that the team took, that definitively paid off, was to make a significant product innovation and to simultaneously embrace the idea of finding the ultimate influencer/advocate that would inspire consumers that they could be successful with the program.   The combination of the new "points plus" program and the partnership with Oscar and Grammy award winner, Jennifer Hudson has increased enrollments 19 percent.  Mr. Brien indicated that the success of the brand has experienced boils down to:

“These Are Amazing Times…Leverage Your Brand to Exploit Them”

By Telisa Yancy, Director Advertising, Brand and Media
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

Depending on who you ask, the current environment for marketers might be described with words, like: crazy, busy, overwhelming-some might even say "insane"!  Building great brands, and telling great stories is now just a portion of what marketers are expected to contribute to their organizations.  If you really want to a list of what marketers do daily, you'd have to add a number of new disciplines including, driving the growth agenda, discovering new markets and new ways to connect to consumers, and most importantly, defending the marketing investment-daily.  Most of us as marketers welcome the new opportunity to help our companies succeed and we are even honored that people recognize that marketing is a true discipline that requires knowledge, skill and leadership.   But, let's admit it...sometimes it feels like this great discipline that we love has lost a bit of its swagger and magic. 

Well, Esther Lee, SVP of Brand Marketing and Advertising for AT&T Services has the anecdote that will get us back to the amazing opportunity that we have as marketers, and surprisingly, and it starts with unleashing the power of your brand. 

The amazing opportunity that confronted Ms. Lee when she joined AT&T was the fact that AT&T has near universal recognition-they are well-known, but not necessarily well-loved. Ms. Lee has been on a journey to change this, and based on results of things like customer retention, sales and market share, I'd say she's making pretty good progress. 

Every journey has a roadmap or some mileposts to help shape and ensure that you will arrive at the appointed place.  For Ms. Lee, and the AT&T Company, there are four critical steps that have marked the journey that all marketers can apply:

Admittedly, all of these seem like relatively simple steps, but Ms. Lee showed that they are not...you cannot truly capitalize on the journey without taking a deep, visceral look into each of these steps.  For example, in step one, most people would describe AT&T as a "Telcom" company-Ms. Lee would not.  She states that they are a "mobility led company that allows people to do more things".  Knowing this allows her to move forward to milepost two, with a true vision on how to seek higher ground (and I'm sure higher profits) for the company.  This also allows the company to know and understand that to capitalize on milepost three, they cannot only present great technology and networks that make everything better, they also have to provide a remarkable customer experience (they are working on this one) and public service that builds deeper and more personal connections to consumers.  One way they did this was through the New Years Eve release of the "that text can wait" documentary: http://youtu.be/DebhWD6ljZs. Another is the fact that they have 30,000 people devoted to building apps to help deliver on the vision on making anything connected to the Internet better. 

Milepost Four, starting from the beginning is what brings the journey together.  Great brands activate the souls and visions of companies.  So before you march off to fight the ROI and metrics battles, don't forget to remind yourself that profits, consumer engagement and loyalty all start with a brand having the courage to be authentic to their highest purpose. 

So in your quest to be able to passionately agree with Ms. Lee that these are indeed amazing times, I leave you with a few words from AT&T's Rethink Possible manifesto:

Play the angel's advocate,

Outsmart can't,

Explore. Try. Do.

Before it could be done, it couldn't.

These are amazing times.


Facebook: The Social Web Powered By You and Your Friends' Content

By Martha Young, FM Global
Posted: Oct 22, 2011 12:00am ET

Facebook -- perhaps you've heard of it. It's all about people.

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, presented at the Masters of Marketing Annual Conference Saturday morning to a roomful of Facebook fans.  Because, after all, who isn't on Facebook?

But, before getting too deep into the topic of our love of talking about ourselves, Sandberg humorously reminded us of the frightening days "before the web" and the days of the web's infancy when online activity was anonymous. Today, the social web is about identity, allowing ordinary people to become broadcasters as well as receivers.

Sandberg posited that "social by design" is a key foundation to successfully connecting with customers. She offered three ways marketers can build their brands on Facebook, by:
1.  Connecting
2.  Engaging
3.  Inspiring

Amid the showcasing of familiar Facebook campaigns, including Diageo, Subway and Walmart, perhaps the biggest news bite was the unveiling of Facebook's new "timeline," a media rich view of Facebook users' lives. Yes, fasten your seat belts for yet another site design enhancement! As with other design changes, it may take some getting used to, but I think we'll like it.

Most notably, "timeline" appears to better promote Facebook's capabilities with photography. Did you know that Facebook is the largest photo sharing site on the Web? Sandberg reports that 250 million photos are uploaded daily on Facebook.  She encouraged us to develop our brand campaigns with engagement activities, including tagging friends and commenting on photos. "Give people a reason to share, a reason to care," Sandberg implored. "Encourage your customers to be part of your brand, not just recipients of your brand." And, of course, we can do this on Facebook. Because why build microsites when you can market to people where they live--on Facebook.

Got an exciting Facebook engagement success story? In the spirit of having a reason to share, tell us about it in the comments section below.

Steve Jobs, Technology Pioneer: 1955-2011

By Sumitra Duncan
Posted: Oct 6, 2011 12:00am ET

Yesterday the sad news was announced that Steve Jobs, co-founder and longstanding CEO of Apple, Inc., passed away at age 56 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. I first learned of this news via my Facebook feed, fittingly viewed on my iPhone, and within minutes friends had reposted the news accompanied by many inspirational quotes from Jobs-my favorite of which come from his address to the 2005 graduating class at Stanford.

Wired.com described Jobs as the "most celebrated person in technology and business." As a visionary innovator whose contribution to our love of mobile technology could be described as unrivaled, Jobs pioneered a shift in the way that we communicate, work, socialize, navigate, research, broadcast, and entertain ourselves while watching video, listening to music, and playing games on the go. My relationship to technology dramatically shifted with my first iPod, PowerBook, and then the iPhone-I now can't imagine a world without the latest in mobile innovations.

ANA members can visit the ANA Marketing Knowledge Center for the latest marketing insights in mobile technology-such as learning more about the iPad for marketers.



I Feel the Earth Move...

By Susan Burke
Posted: Sep 6, 2011 12:00am ET

In the ANA's New York City offices, we felt the slight aftershocks from August's earthquake in Virginia. After it passed, the questions began, ranging from "was that an earthquake?" to "was that the subway?" A quick look on CNN.com and MSNBC.com confirmed that there had been an earthquake in Virginia, but beyond a "breaking news" banner, there was no fresh information on either of those sites for some time afterwards.

Hungry for more information, I headed to Facebook and that's where I got the scoop-links to articles, attempts to check in to the earthquake on Foursquare, and reports of a mild shaking going on from friends all over the northeast. Not only was information coming out of Facebook (and Twitter) quickly, it was also, for the most part, accurate and interesting.

My social media experience on Tuesday reflects a larger trend that is currently impacting the advertising industry. According to Carolyn Everson, VP, Global Marketing, Facebook, who spoke at the Mobile Marketing Association's CEO & CMO Summit in July 2011, 74% of consumers would prefer to receive information and recommendations from their friends online as opposed to experts. For me, Facebook (and my friends) were a more helpful source of information during the earthquake than any of the traditional news sites.

What do you think? Is social media where you go for news and reviews?


Mobile's Time Has Come

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Sep 6, 2011 12:00am ET

Results of a new ANA survey are just in on the use of newer media platforms. Social media and mobile are both red hot. 89% of marketers are now using social media and 75% are using mobile. Recent growth for both has been strong, as reflected in the numbers below.

Use of Media Platform
  Social Media Mobile
2011 89% 75%
2009 66% 32%
2007 20% 28%

Mobile's growth trend is particularly interesting - very modest growth from 2007 to 2009 and spectacular growth from 2009 to 2011.

In my eleven year tenure at ANA I have often heard that mobile's growth will be "next year" and then "next year" does not quite live up to its promise. But next year has finally arrived.

Some other interesting findings regarding mobile from that new survey:

However, marketers are not yet completely sold on the effectiveness of mobile. It fact, mobile ranks behind a host of other newer media platforms in terms of perceived effectiveness (behind websites, SEO, SEM, email, webinars, online ads, social media). So it still has some work to do.

According to Wendy Clark, SVP, integrated marketing communications and capabilities at The Coca-Cola Company, mobile is the MOST important medium for the firm going forward. That's quite a statement from a company that is over one hundred years old and sells beverages! Wendy will be the opening keynote speaker at the ANA Mobile Marketing Conference presented by MediaVest on September 14 in NYC. Other companies that will share their perspective on the importance of mobile will be Walmart, Hershey, American Express, HP, Westin Hotels, Sprint Nextel, and MediaVest. Check out the agenda and I hope to see you there!


Mobile Marketing: What Are Marketers Doing?

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Aug 31, 2011 12:00am ET

Mobile marketing is a relatively new space that marketers are getting involved in, and rightfully so-it's the best way to get your product into the hands of your consumers-literally via their mobile device which doesn't seem to leave their hands!

According to one of our recent surveys, about 90 percent of marketers currently use or plan to include mobile marketing as part of their overall mix. So what are companies and marketers doing in the mobile space? Westin Hotels & Resorts is embracing mobile technology by creating a mobile website, a mobile app for their Starwood Preferred Guests, and they've done mobile geo-targeted advertising with the "Warm Up Your Weather" campaign.

The Coca-Cola Company has publicly stated that mobile is the most important medium for the company going forward and they are currently using mobile advertising to engage with brand lovers. Coca-Cola has also stated (Gavin Mehrotra, Director of International Media) that SMS is the number one priority at Coca-Cola in the mobile realm, mobile web is number two, and smartphone apps are number three. According to Coca-Cola's theory-SMS reaches all customers, whatever mobile device they may have.

HP recently announced their exit from the tablet space; however that doesn't mean they aren't doing a ton of really cool stuff in mobile marketing. HP developed HP Connect for events (on mobile devices), which provides details of presentations, information about booths, connection to social networks, and QR scanners (used with the camera feature of mobile devices). All of the files received though HP Connect can be viewed using the mobile phone, or can be transferred to a computer. HP Connect is just one of the many cool mobile marketing concepts they are working on.

Want to find out what other marketers are doing in the mobile space? Want to network with your peers? Join us at the 2011 ANA Mobile Marketing Conference presented by MediaVest on September 14 in NYC to hear more from leading mobile experts from Westin Hotels & Resorts, American Express, MediaVest, The Coca-Cola Company, Walmart, HP, Comcast, eMarketer, The Hershey Company, and Sprint Nextel!

Managing Social Media Overload

By Sumitra Duncan
Posted: Aug 25, 2011 12:00am ET

A recent New York Times article, "For the Plugged-In, Too Many Choices," examines the issue of social media overload. This issue is one that most of us can relate to, especially with the almost daily introduction of new social media options-such as the recently debuted Google +.

While some of us may drag our feet in trying out these new sites (whether it be because we find our use of Facebook and Twitter sufficient, or we simply don't have enough time or energy to devote to yet another site), eventually we feel pressure from friends (or blogs) to sign up in order to not miss out on the next best social media option. The New York Times cites early adopters of social networking sites as feeling fatigued, with one in every four and a half minutes of Internet time being spent on a social networking website. Power users of many social sites link their posts and feeds so that they only have to visit one site to see what's happening on many sites all at once-thus cutting down on their time spent online, but without feeling disconnected from their network.

 Do you also find yourself experiencing social media overload?  What tools or tactics do you use to help manage your social media interactions?


Kim Kardashian & Branded Entertainment

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Aug 22, 2011 12:00am ET

I was drawn to an article over the weekend that began with this teaser copy: "Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were married Saturday in a lavish, made-for-TV celebration of love, devotion and product placement."  Yes, branded entertainment (aka product placement) is everywhere. Kim Kardashian has done a terrific job building her (and her family's) personal brand and extending that to the launch of a new Sears clothing line, Kardashian Kollection, perfumes, promotional deals with Sketchers shoes and QuickTrim weight-loss supplements, and more.

According to a new ANA member survey, 63% of marketers are participating in branded entertainment and their financial commitment to this communication platform has increased. Branded entertainment represents 4.7% of the marketing communications budget in 2011(advertising, direct marketing, promotions, etc.) compared to 3.5% in our last survey in 2006. Further, the majority of survey respondents expect the percentage of their company's marketing communications budget allocated to branded entertainment to increase next year. 47% expect an increase, 33% expect it to stay the same, and 9% expect a decrease (the remainder doesn't know/are not sure).

Spending in branded entertainment is across many platforms - traditional commercial television, the Internet, sporting events/venues, video games, music and, of course, Kim Kardashian.

ANA members can access our full report on branded entertainment here.

Thanks for the Tip (and the importance of real Service)

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Aug 17, 2011 12:00am ET

A pet peeve of mine concerns tipping. More and more, tipping seems expected. There's the tip jar at the coffee shop - hey that latte cost $4.75 ... and you want me to tip on top of that? 

Recently I ordered takeout dinner and when I picked up my order at the restaurant there was a tip jar on the counter - but I was the one who drove five miles, each way, so why should I be tipping? I'm happy to tip for service when eating at a restaurant, but certainly not when I pick up takeout!

Hotel room service tipping is always tricky (and a bit of a rip off). Recently, the room service order at a hotel I stayed at included both a "delivery" charge (a flat $4 fee that worked out to 17% for my breakfast) and a "service" charge (23%). Plus, there was a line for an optional additional gratuity. Isn't 40% enough? Those optional tips on top of existing ones are just obnoxious.

But the best (or worst) example of tipping excess are New York City taxis. For riders paying via credit cards, the default tipping options provided are 20%, 25%, or 30%. Passengers can override the default options and pay any tip they want but these options are hard to believe. C'mon ... 20% for a low tip? (Credit to the Wall Street Journal and Rob Shepperson for the image.) On the other hand, I think this is genius for whoever thought of these options as it surely leads to higher tips for the drivers.

I am appreciative that companies like McDonald's do not have tip jars. The service provided is simply part of the experience and value-proposition. It's expected at McDonald's and is not an "extra." Tipping is a payment that's over and above what's due and it should be an extra reward for superior service.

Service, in my view, is an increasingly lost art. Companies like USAA, Nordstrom, L.L. Bean, and Public Supermarkets have strong reputations for customer service. (See Business Week's rankings of the top companies for service) Kudos to those companies and none of 'em have a tip jar!



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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.