Marketing Maestros

Are You Thinking Mobile for Your Business?

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Jan 21, 2011 12:00am ET

Let me answer that question for you, "you should be thinking mobile" and here's why. Just this week Starbucks announced that iPhone and Blackberry owners can pay for their purchases via an app. The app works just like the Starbucks card—it will display a barcode and the barista can scan this barcode from your mobile device to pay for your purchase. You cannot pay with a credit card via the app, instead you need to manage the balance of your Starbucks card by adding funds from a credit card online.  
Another retailer thinking mobile: Target. Target made life a little simpler with their app—the mobile gift card program. How many times have you forgotten the gift card at home that Aunt Sue gave you for your birthday? Now you no longer need to grab that extra piece of plastic before walking out the door. The app allows you to turn your gift card into a digital barcode on your cell phone (just don't leave home without your cell).
Retailers aren't the only ones showing mobile some love. Online auction mogul, eBay says that "nearly $2 billion" in merchandise transactions took place via mobile devices. The eBay app not only allows you to buy and sell items on eBay, but now you can scan a bar code of an item in a retail store to see how much you can buy it for on eBay.
Can your business benefit from creating an app for smart phones? Of course it depends on your business model, but it seems mobile is the wave of the future!

Are You Game?

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Jan 6, 2011 12:00am ET

Social gaming is the talk of the town, with games like Farmville and Cityville becoming extremely popular on Facebook.  According to an online article from Inside Social Games, "Cityville became the largest single app ever on the Facebook platform, with 84.2 million monthly active users." The social gaming concept is changing how people socialize with their friends in the social media space. Do you think social gaming is the next big thing in the online space?

People seem to think so, and businesses are starting to notice. Take McDonald's for example; in Sweden they brought the concept of gaming to a billboard advertisement. The concept: create a videogame that engaged customers walking on the street. McDonald's hired a company to create a videogame that employed McDonald's items like french fries, ice cream sundaes, burgers, and cups of coffee to dance across the digital screen. The advertisement went on to ask people to snap a picture with their cell phone of a menu item, bring into the local McDonald's and get that item for free.

For the duration of the ad, about 300 people brought in images to the local McDonald's. Although they were hoping to engage more people, the concept was picked up all over the Internet and tons of people were talking about it. The gaming advertisement experience was a hit, where else, but online!

Why Foursquare Works

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Dec 17, 2010 12:00am ET

Foursquare was based off of the concept of bringing the element of gaming to real-life. But, how does this work for businesses and marketers?

First of all, it puts your business on the map. Local businesses can offer sales and special rates to customers in their area on a whim—with the simple click of a button. Picture this, you own a local bakery, and have way too many pastries left over as it is nearing the closing hour. Instead of throwing out the pastries, you can run an advertisement on Foursquare for half-priced treats and any of your customers on Foursquare will see the advertisement and be more apt to come in and shop. This is what we call geotagging—the idea that merchants use GPS technology (in smart phones) to build a community at street level instead of global level. Foursquare provides a relatively simple and quick advertising option for local businesses.

So why are customers jumping into Foursquare—because smart phones are the new "it" necessity. With a smart phone you can go on mobile optimized websites, keep in touch with friends on Facebook, listen to music, chat to your followers on Twitter, play a game with the newest app, and even make a phone call. Smart phones are simply a mini computer at your fingertips—and it seems as though almost everyone has one.

Which brings us back to the new sensation of Foursquare—what do you think about Foursquare? Does your company use it, or plan on using it in the future?


New Ad Options on YouTube

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Dec 2, 2010 12:00am ET

According to research conducted by Nieslen, American consumers allocate 33 percent of their weekly media time to online. Nielsen also found that overall online video usage was up from 2009. Recently YouTube launched two new advertising formats: the first option allows viewers to skip advertisements after the first five seconds.

The second option YouTube is implementing allows the viewers to select which advertisement they would prefer to watch. According to an article on Mashable.com, advertisers are embracing this new option because companies have more control over their advertising budget and can target their ads to their ideal consumer.

As an advertiser, how do you feel about these new options? Share your thoughts!

Refreshing Your Brand? Not So Fast.

By Adrienne Tallacksen
Posted: Dec 1, 2010 12:00am ET

A new look going into the new year may seem like a good idea. But there's more to it than just updating your logo and slapping it onto your website and packaging. Remember Gap and Tropicana? The brands ended up reverting back to their old logos after debuting their new looks. In both cases, consumers revolted against the new designs.

Xilinx is an example of a brand refresh done well. The 25-year old high tech brand undertook this process in 2009 starting with extensive research about Xilinx's reputation in the marketplace and with its customers. Its marketing team knew that the brand's proliferation of sub-brand logos was not sustainable and worked to get support from senior management for the rebranding effort. Xilinx opted for subtle changes to its parent logo and more extensive updates to logos and naming conventions for its sub-brands.

Xilinx rebranded itself "from the inside out." This meant working closely with its employees who have a tremendous impact on the brand. It was important to let them know why the change was being made and what they could expect in terms of changes to the company's culture. To make sure employees fully understood the rebranding, Xilinx's marketing team held lunch and learns, presented at company-wide meetings, and redesigned the intranet portal.

This brand refresh was successful because Xilinx invested in a few key areas. The brand took the time to do research, get buy-in from senior management, and educated employees on the rebranding effort.

ANA Research Report: Multicultural Marketing and Newer Media

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Nov 29, 2010 12:00am ET

ANA recently fielded a survey to better understand how newer media platforms are being used to reach multicultural consumers. Topline results were debuted at the ANA Multicultural Marketing & Diversity Conference earlier this month.

A key finding of the research is that multicultural marketers allocate, on average, 6.6% of their multicultural media budgets to newer media platforms—versus 15.6% in the general market. Further, almost every newer media platform is more commonly used in the general market than in the multicultural market.

An important insight behind these numbers is that multicultural marketers are not allocating enough spending to newer media and many may not be allocating enough spending to multicultural marketing overall.

When results of the 2010 Census are released they will undoubtedly confirm what is already known by savvy multicultural marketers:

The population make-up of the country has reached a tipping point. The Census Bureau estimates that minorities will constitute a majority of the nation's overall population in about three decades and a majority of Americans under age 18 in only one decade.

More multicultural consumers and more younger multicultural consumers are a powerful combination ripe for an increased allocation in multicultural marketing spending overall and spending in newer multicultural media more specifically.

The implications to marketers are now clearer than ever before—multicultural consumers are no longer niche or "add on" segments. Rather, multicultural markets are the new mainstream and spending on multicultural marketing overall and newer media in particular must reflect that.

NBC News Embraces TV Time Shifting

By Susan Burke
Posted: Nov 17, 2010 12:00am ET

A surprising new ad featuring NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams, encourages viewers who don't have time to watch the news when it airs live (6:30 p.m.) to record it and watch it later instead (a phenomenon known as "time shifting"). In a November 14, 2010, New York Times article, Mr. Williams commented, "I just thought it was high time to acknowledge, in our Nightly News promos, the way we live."

All of this raises new questions for the industry. Does acknowledging the very real fact that viewers time shift demonstrate that the networks are in touch with the way people consume media today? And, does time shifting make viewers more likely to watch a TV program, even if they miss the original air date?

According to a September 27, 2010, New York Times article, DVRs are helping many shows attain larger audiences (and Nielsen ratings). Fox's Glee scored a 5.6 Nielsen rating for an episode that aired in September, but after factoring in the time shifting audience, the rating grew to 6.3. The September 27, 2010, New York Times article went on to state that "many other established shows, like CBS's Two and a Half Men, and NBC's Law & Order SVU, added about 15 to 20 percent to their totals" after accounting for their DVR audiences.

Of course, these findings don't address a key issue for advertisers—are users fast-forwarding through the commercials when they do time shift? Most likely, yes. However, advertisers would be surprised by what sticks in viewers' heads as they are fast forwarding. Even while fast forwarding, I still caught a glimpse of and remember the fun Dove and Hellmann's commercials that played during the most recent season of AMC's Mad Men.
To read more on issues related to TV and video, please visit the Marketing Knowledge Center at www.ana.net/mkc or sign-up for our TV & Everything Video Forum on February 10, 2011.

San Francisco Makes Kids Frown: Bans Toy Giveaways in Meals

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Nov 3, 2010 12:00am ET

San Francisco lawmakers approved legislation on Tuesday, November 2, that would limit toy giveaways in children's meals specifically those with high calorie intake. San Francisco is the only city in the country that will now forbid any restaurant from including a toy with a meal that doesn't contain specific levels of calories, sugar, and fat mandated by a new ordinance.  However, restaurants are permitted to include a toy if the meal (including beverage) contains fewer than 600 calories (less than 35 percent of the calories can come from fat). The ordinance is scheduled to go into effect December 2011.
How do you think children will respond? How do you think the restaurant industry will respond? Share your thoughts!

Message to TV Networks: Don’t fill sidebar pillars of ads with your logo or network promotions

By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Oct 29, 2010 12:00am ET

MediaPost's Dave Goetzl wrote a story recently on how TBS is promoting its Conan show using "pillars" that appear to the left and right sidebars of some ads on their HD feeds. 

The majority of spots on TBS during the recent baseball playoffs, were produced in high-definition. When an ad is produced in standard definition, it doesn't fill the entire screen and leaves the sides black. So the pillars with network promos can only be used then. TBS inserted C-O-N-A-N in the pillar sidebars, while an ad aired between them.

According to the MediaPost article, for the most part, networks leave the pillars blank, although TBS and TNT have inserted their logos, as has ESPN; but NBC Universal, CBS, MTV Networks, the Fox cable channels, the Discovery networks and Rainbow's AMC leave the space untouched.

Let's hope that the use of the sidebar pillars by the networks—either with their logo or, worse yet, a network promotion—does not gain further traction. Plain and simple, it competes for the viewers' attention and devalues the effectiveness of the advertising.

Intuit Makes TurboTax Snazzy with Social Media

By Cara Brooke Schultz
Posted: Oct 26, 2010 12:00am ET

In case you missed it, Seth Greenberg, VP, global media & digital marketing at Intuit spoke at the 2010 ANA Annual Conference - The Masters of Marketing. Seth talked about how Intuit is successfully utilizing the social media space to get the word out about TurboTax—and not only is the word out—the word is that TurboTax is cool! So how did Intuit make tax preparation software hip & happenin'?  

First off, they took risks! Intuit hired Vanilla Ice (in 2007) to create a "tax rap" which resulted in a viral frenzy! The video received over 1 million views with a homepage takeover on YouTube and ranked as the most viewed entertainment video the week it debuted. Over 370 homemade videos with more than 2.5 million views were submitted to win the $25,000 grand prize for the TurboTax Rap Contest. Right after that, Intuit launched another YouTube contest called "tax laugh," with the tagline, "Comedy is hard TurboTax is easy!" Pretty cool for a 25-year old conservative company huh?!

With 41 percent of first time TurboTax customer's learning about the product via word of mouth or a recommendation it's no surprise that social media is a key piece to Intuit's communication strategy—and isn't social media simply word of mouth advertising on steroids with a massive megaphone?!

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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.