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?
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.
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!
By Bill Duggan, Group EVP, ANA
Posted: Aug 10, 2011 12:00am ET
ANA recently completely a member survey on branded entertainment. Branded entertainment (also referred to as product integration or branded content) integrates a brand with an entertainment property (i.e., TV program, movie, video game, music and more), usually for a fee, to create an association between the brand and property. Such an association usually integrates the brand into the entertainment content in a much deeper way than simple product placement.
In today's fragmented and cluttered marketing environment, branded entertainment can be a terrific way to make stronger emotional connections with the consumer. There are so many vehicles to do that-not only traditional commercial television but also via the Internet, sporting events/venues, video games, music and much more.
We found that the overall incidence of branded entertainment is relatively unchanged since a prior survey - 66% in 2006 and 63% in 2011. However, those involved in branded entertainment appear to be making a bigger commitment.
Most importantly, client-side marketers are not satisfied with the quality of research available to measure the impact of branded entertainment and little progress has been made with improving that research. This is indeed very troubling. And for those companies not engaged in branded entertainment, the lack of measurable results only ranks behind cost as the reason for not getting involved.
Clearly, media providers, agencies and the client community should take note of the large gap in ROI metrics and take steps to improve the measurement of branded entertainment. ANA members can access that full report here.
By Willette Francis
Posted: Jul 25, 2011 12:00am ET
This year's presenters from brands such as Dominos, Gap, Lowe's and VISA took the stage at the Association of National Advertiser's (ANA) Digital and Social Media conference to discuss how integrating social media programs into their marketing strategies drove increases in brand awareness and perception, customer loyalty and significant growth in market share and sales. These accomplishments are a testament that social media is here to stay.
Here are some takeaways from the conference that will inspire you to embrace social media as the new marketing frontier:
- Making connections online and in-person. Wheat Thins and Southern Comfort took the connections they made through their social networks to personally meet with their customers. Wheat Thins "Crunch is Calling" campaign visited selected members who tweeted about the brand and Southern Comfort (SC) reinforced their brands connection with New Orleans and Mardi Gras by handing out SC beads.
- Customers in control through social feedback. Dominos' Pizza Turnaround campaign accepted customer's critiques of their pizza recipe via their social networks and used these comments to improve their product, gain customers and offer better customer service when the product's delivered through Domino's online pizza tracker.
- Engagement through user-generated content. VISA got fans involved during their World Cup soccer sponsorship by giving passionate fans a chance express their love of the sport on Youtube.
Posted: Jul 12, 2011 4:20pm ET
Attendees of our July 14th 2011 ANA Digital and Social Media Conference presented by Meredith, not only will you get some great learnings from Domino's, Visa Inc., RadioShack, and more, we're giving you opportunities to win prizes that will help your business.
What can I win?
- The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry
- Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki
- Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen
- Facebook Marketing for Dummies by Paul Dunay (autographed)
- Your choice of an iPad 2 or HTC EVO™ 4G (approx. a $499 value)
- Free pass to our 2011 ANA Mobile Marketing Conference presented by MediaVest (a $595 value)
Who is eligible?
To win your choice of a free iPad 2 or HTC EVO™ 4G or to win the free pass to our 2011 ANA Mobile Marketing Conference presented by MediaVest, you must attend the conference either in person or via live stream. Further details will be given at the event, but make sure to bring your mobile device as you'll need to text and/or tweet to win!
To win a free copy of The Accidental Creative, Enchantment, or Likeable Social Media, you must follow us on Twitter at @ANAmarketers and tweet about the conference using hashtag #ANA_Digital on July 14, 2011 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST.
Great. When and where is the event?
Register now for the 2011 ANA Digital and Social Media Conference.
July 14, 2011
Grand Hyatt New York
109 East 42nd Street At Grand Central Terminal
New York, NY
Anything else I need to know?
If you haven't already done so, follow us on Twitter at @ANAmarketers to subscribe to our stream of elite tweets featuring marketing factoids, industry news, ANA national events, future giveaways, and much more.
We can't wait to connect with you at the Digital and Social Media Conference as well as on social media.
By Willette Francis
Posted: Jul 11, 2011 12:00am ET
Email marketing has become an essential part of the digital marketing scene. It's proven to effectively reach consumers, build your brand, retain customers, andequally important, it continues to foster high ROIs.
According to Econsultancy's early 2011 survey, 72 % of respondents answered that the ROI of their email marketing campaigns is excellent or really good, and only Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technologies scored better.
But high ROI's don't happen overnight; you need strong email marketing campaigns to achieve successful results. Here's how you can become an inbox favorite:
1. It's all about the subscriber. Create a message that speaks to what your subscribers signed up for, want and expect to get. (This doesn't mean recycle a direct mail piece into HTML form). To achieve this, you must also understand that the consumer's wants aren't about your marketing goals.
2. Compliment email's capabilities. Email marketing isn't an island. Mobile marketing and social media marketing are perfect complementary tools to target your messages. They also allow you to deliver these messages to opted-in users who prefer alternate forms of communication, which inevitably gets you closer to conversions.
3. Choices are everything. Customers are navigating towards all types of digital channelsEstablish additional ways to capture preferences and points of communication other than opting in through a company's website-based email signup form.
By Grace Bello
Posted: Jul 6, 2011 9:40am ET
Your brand may already have a social media presence and e-mail marketing strategy. However, are you using these platforms to hear what your consumers are saying about you?
Here are three actionable ways to utilize your organization's digital marketing tools as a listening device rather than a loudspeaker.
Test subject lines.
Sure, e-mail is an inexpensive and efficient way to get your message across. And advanced e-mail marketers such as yours truly utilize A/B tests to optimize their brand's e-mail open and click-through rates. The next step, then, is taking a hint from the winning subject line and learning what your audience is more interested in.
To use an example from a recent ANA e-mail test, I compared results for the subject line "Masters of Marketing Conference and Webinar" versus "Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix, AZ and Webinar." The singular addition of the event location boosted click-through rates an additional 60%. That is, without discounting, an online ad buy, or e-mail list buy, we gained a significant uptick in e-mail engagement.
Clearly, the ANA's audience is particularly interested in events that take place outside of our home city of New York. (Good thing, too, as our annual Masters of Marketing Conference in Phoenix, AZ is sure to be the premier industry event of the year.) Based on your e-mail marketing analytics, what piques your audience's interest?
One tweet, three ways.
Try writing in two or three distinctly different tones on Twitter when promoting the same piece of content. Monitor which message got the most retweets and responses. For instance, our recent missive "4 tips for building a better #blog http://t.co/QV1UaIU" got retweeted to 2,306 followers. Had we the time, we could have tested the same link with three different tones, such as:
- 4 tips for building a better blog
- Do you want to write more compelling blog posts? Here's how.
- Blogging could lead to 67% more sales leads! Get blog tips now.
We could then see whether the straightforward, teasing, or authoritative tone fared best. And from then on, we could skew our messages to fit what our audience responds to the most.
Therefore, Twitter, just like your e-mail marketing messages, can serve as a testing ground. Use it wisely.
When it comes to your e-mail marketing, which stories get the most clicks? In my D2C days, anything above the fold garnered the highest CTRs. Whether it was the company logo, the header or the top navigation panel, or a big "click here" button, readers would rather handpick their content from the website rather than from the e-mail itself.
However, here at the ANA, relevant e-mail content is king. The more informative and of-the-moment stories in our e-mails grab the most reader clicks. Therefore, I look to e-mail analytics to guide which content we should continue to promote from our Marketing Knowledge Center.
Other opportunities to gauge your best content include keyword searches on your landing page as well as analytics reports. In the vein of a survey, use this kind of data to assess what your audience is interested in and, by extension, how to better serve your customers.
What other digital marketing data do you use to guide your brand?
By Willette Francis
Posted: Jun 27, 2011 9:00am ET
Blogging is an effective marketing tool that continuously generates brand awareness by getting your current and potential clients to join the conversation about your company's latest news and events.
According to Hubspot's State of Inbound Marketing survey of almost 700 professionals, 57 percent said blogs lead to new customer acquisitions. That's why, it's essential to put your best blog forward by creating informative posts that invite engagement with your colleagues and consumers alike.
How do you do this? You can build a better blog (and blog post) with these tips:
- Stay focused on the topic that you've presented in the title. This is what the readers will be looking for.
- Grab the reader's attention immediately with an enticing initial paragraph that ends with a teaser of what's to come.
- Keep your writing style simple by getting the message across in as few words as you can. Paragraphs should be short and broken down into alpha numerical notations, if possible.
- Link and trackback to other blogs that share your interest. This builds community among blogs and bloggers and gets the word out about the products and services that you have to offer.
Click here for more on how blogging can help grow your business.
By Grace Bello
Posted: Jun 22, 2011 11:00am ET
Social networks including Facebook and LinkedIn allow businesses to target their ads to specific demographics in their favorite online spaces. However, are you making the most of your social media presence?
Here are some quick tips to boost your social media marketing impact, gleaned from our very own ANA School of Marketing seminar on social media metrics:
- Track the conversation about your brand
For quick consumer insights, monitor what customers say on Twitter and Facebook about your brand. On Twitter, the "mentions" tab provides a list of consumer praise and complaints; most importantly, companies can see who may be on the fence about purchasing their products and respond to these users directly. Though consumers often don't convert based on a 140 character tweet, they may choose your brand over another if you "reply @" that specific person. This is simply the digital version of excellent customer service.
- Connect with influencers
Celebrity Kim Kardashian may get paid up to $10,000 to endorse products on Twitter, but your brand could get just as much clout without the hefty price tag. Depending on your product, key influencers could include anyone from mommy bloggers to food editors. Tweet at them or tag them in a Facebook post with a targeted message as to why your product or service shines brightest. If a prominent social media user broadcasts a social media message that promotes your product, it could mean a windfall for your organization. Think of this as online PR--and, wonderfully, it's free.
- Build your audience, and listen to them
In the ANA's social media metrics seminar, presenter Jim Sterne noted that the number of times Twitter users mention new movies directly correlates with how well the respective films fare at the box office. Therefore, it's not as important to blast out your own messages as it is to listen to the buzz that you do get. For instance, are your fans commenting on the price of your product? How about the design? Or in GAP's case, the logo? Chatter, whether good or bad, is a great research tool. Find out through social media what your customers are interested in and what your business should focus on.
For more information on using social media successfully, read up on our Social Media Metrics snapshot, attend our 2011 ANA Digital and Social Media Conference on 7/14 in New York, NY, and sign up for an onsite workshop on social media metrics through our ANA School of Marketing.