Breaking the Habit

10 Dec

Why hasn’t conversational marketing taken off? Well, I see only one reason and that is that the people who run the online media world are too busy with the day to day that they fail to care or notice.

Banners, among other usual contenders are what people see as online marketing. Most fail to see outside of the box, which is totally understandable – a working day for most is exactly that a working day, where doing is everything and thinking creatively is not necessarily high up there. If you are selling, you have a small amount of time to connect with what people understand. Education maybe part of selling, but I wager you only have a certain level of tolerance as a buyer to receive it and as a sales person there is only so much you can do.

Selling to the busy, especially those that buy day in and day out the same stuff, also decreases acceptance levels. Habits are habits, the are formed because humans need routine and comfort; it’s our ability to see a microcosm into the future, which makes us feel safe.

It’s the bold whom take on the challenge of the new, who see the concept and embrace it. Are they the successful among us? Maybe. Whatever they are they are the ones that break new ground for the rest of us to follow. For the rest of us to learn from their successes and failures, and to push on with momentum.

I’ve said it before, engagement is everything! Marketers just need to find that golden ticket to break the mundane and go for the new ground.

Quick Poll, do you click?

3 Dec

Some campaigns I’m working on…

30 Nov

Just wanted to share a couple of cool campaigns I’ve been working on @ work this week – Asus/Intel’s WePC.com & Vodafone’s Live Guy.

See my writeups on both @

WePC.com – http://www.netcommunities.com/blog/net_communities_and_wepc_com

Live Guy – http://www.netcommunities.com/blog/find_live_guy

Both are really good examples of conversational / social media in action. Check ’em out!

Nike UK’s 40% discount code – innocent leak or first class guerilla marketing?

30 Nov
40% off these? Dream on...

40% off these? Dream on...

I spent a fair whack of my Saturday parked @ Nike.co.uk’s online store. Why oh why? Well, just like a fair bunch of like minded folks, I was there to scoop my generous 40% discount across the full online range…or so I thought…

Late last week news started to spread online about a code which enabled this massive discount – details were vague about exactly how the code was obtained, but it was claimed that the code was ‘leaked’ by an employee, and the code itself – UKEMPL1115 – seemed to suggest that it may be some sort of staff discount code. By Friday afternoon the deal had very much gone viral – see Google or forum threads @ HotUKDeals & MoneySavingExperts.

By Saturday night the code seems to have stopped working altogether, and people who had successfully placed orders before began to receive emails informing them that their order had been canceled.

Had we just all been punk’d? No doubt in my mind!

Thinking rationally the whole Employee code leak just sounds full of holes. The voucher code just seems so flakey – would Nike really offer a discount code online for employees? I sincerely doubt it – surely its just asking for something like this to happen. Also, IF they did would it be so obvious as that – it’s not very cryptic is it? And 40%?!?! Have Nike employees really got it that good? A bit of searching online proved inconclusive, with some placing Nike employee discount at 20%, others at 30% but none quite at 40%. I really doubt its as high as this….

What was it mum used to say – If it sounds to good to be true, then it probably is…

To me this just sounds like a crafty guerrilla marketing ploy – the glue being the unbelievable offer, and the purpose being to get us to the Nike site and wet our appetite. You think you are getting something, then it gets taken away from you – you then want it back (even if you never had it in the first place, and in order to get it back is going to cost you considerable more ££). That’s exactly how I feel – thinking rationally, I’d never thought about getting those running shoes (cost v benefit), until I thought that I was getting them for 40% off. @ 40% off I sold myself the benefits of having these shoes, but when this discount was taken away I still harboured the desire to own these shoes.

Anyone else come across a similar guerilla marketing ploy, or have more on this story?? Thoughts / comments welcome…

Online Marketing needs to grow up and learn how to walk…

26 Nov

The day job has got me more and more thinking about web 2.0, and perhaps more significantly the need for it; and I’m not just talking about from a corporate point of view, where we get into site stickiness and page views and stuff, while important it is something I will come back to.

First I want to touch on why the Internet needed to evolve and how Marketers rightly need to start thinking one step further than the banner.

In the early days of the internet, by that I mean the mid 90’s. The web was forced into 3 business models: print publishing business model;  e-commerce (loosely translated as a shop that everyone was too afraid to buy from) or finally a pretty shit library (the kind of one where if you cracked open a coffee and sat on the floor, you’d be politely asked to leave…well almost).

Luckily, clever people through whatever motivation – boredom, I suspect – saw that not only, did you need to make sites full of worthwhile free content but you also had to make it engaging.

Right, I’ve said it, engaging! This is the only word you need to remember in this entire post. Web 2.0 is based around engagement. This will range from contribution via commenting or on a more progressive site users will generate a large if not total proportion of content. Providing the site has content that users find valuable to trade in their time for, you can be sure that better interactivity will ensure the site is more engaging, which will build loyalty, which in return builds, traffic.

Some of the best social media sites, techcrunch, mashable, digg and revison3, to name but a few are awesome at engaging with the community they serve. These communities are as diverse as world cities, but they all habour one dream, to engage with the people that visit and start a conversation with them, be that heated debate or sharing ‘coolness’.

While the Internet has made its evolution from the web 1.0, to web 2.0, advertisers are still one step behind. At this point I would like to congratulate those that have made it at least to the web, those that haven’t, don’t worry recession is here, time to spend a little less for a lot more. Getting back to my ultimate point, advertising online is still surprisingly traditional, even ad formats haven’t changed, pick up a Newspaper and see the leaderboard, skyscraper and variations on other ad formats… I’m not saying these aren’t here to stay, because they are, and they work (kind of). When they do, they suck you through to a screaming and pushy sales landing page, buy me, BUY ME NOW!!!. This is where the online marketing is missing a trick. As it is this page, that should be engaging, asking visitors their opinions, getting them involve, creating an environment that deserves time being spent.

To be engaging is the next step for online marketing; to create a community from communities, to drive traffic to a site that wants to listen, wants to allow you to interact, wants to get people you respect and admire involved, so together you and your brand can do something ‘wonderful’.

This is the Conversational Marketing approach…and luckly for us all there are companies pinoeering this method and examples and debate will be opened in the next post.

(PS – Conversational Marketing won’t be around forever, but it is the next logical step, until web 3.0 touches down and fills our space – if anyone knows what that looks like, give me a heads ups)

Impress, Click or Aquire Me… go on! I know you want to.

29 Jul

Right! I hope the distinction between the two is fairly obvious, but those who have no idea what CPA, CPC and CPM are please click here, here and here. So in reading this weeks NMA I stumbled across an article which put these heavy-weights of the online world into competition. I’m thinking to myself, surely they are just tools to achieve totally different jobs. Hence the very reason they exist in the first place.

Acquisition has long been the bastion of any direct marketers dream, and in times of the ‘credit crunch’ – how I loath the media for whipping us up into that frenzy, but that’s another story for another time; acquisition is a measurable, definitive return on investment, it does in effect what it says on the tin. At no cost to the advertiser despite the number of displays, the only persons whom potentially loses here are the media owners.

CPC is the bigger brother of internet marketing terms compared to CPA, it is much more established, and widely used, especially by the oh so adored search engines. This models has it own flaws, but impressively it does force the media owner and the advertiser to think about what they are doing. A strong and well targeted message will drive clicks and hopefully the right people to the right landing page. The media owner just has the risk of weighing the money they get from clicks as opposed to a CPM deal.

If CPA and CPC are brothers, then surely CPM is the daddy of Online and in many respects where advertising started in the first place, by wonderful graphics that would entice the mind, conjuring images that make for empathy and understanding of the brand values….wait we might have something here, is display advertising about branding, surely not…

I’ve had time to calm down, and realise that it largely is. Branding is the cornerstone to why CPM is important and will remain. If you really want to be clever about it, you may want to start tracking clicks on display advertising like you would for click advertising, I bet the clever ones can see how this might help measure ROI, but remember you’re still trying to connect the brand to the conciousness of a fickle audience.

So what has this taught us, well CPM will remain in some form or another, just like it has in the traditional media space, and CPA/CPC will be that tatical marketing that looks to shift services and/or products by a strong call to action and a great offer, the other conerstone of marketing beyond branding.

Intrusive ads are brand suicide…

23 Jul
Intrusive ads really tick punters off...

Intrusive ads really tick punters off...

HOT OF THE PRESS:- Apparently theres new research to suggest that intrusive ads annoy people, and annoying ads are not good for your brand rep…

Excuse me for being a Mr know it all, but isn’t this bleedin obvious. Everytime I tell someone non-digital that I’m in online advertisng they reply – “Is it you who make those annoying smiley faces pop up on my screen.”

Although it’s not the first piece of research on this matter, (others here, here & here), hopefully those marketeers still spending their ad $$ budgets on ‘intrusive’ online ads will wake up and stop giving the rest of online advertisers a bad name. Who are these brands who continue to bug us all? Well the report highlighted 888.com, Dulux, Ford, Garnier, Halifax and L’Oreal as being among those with the most mentioned…

In my opinion, Online advertising should always look, where possible, to add or enhance the users experience online. It should never look to detract from it or hinder it in any way, and ad formats such as pop up / overlays / ads with sound / and to a certain extent certain expandables can never be seen to be adding to the users experience.

Yes – some ad vendors / media owners may argue that as a method for getting infront of targeted audiences it’s second to none. And sure, they may remember you alright, but for all the wrong reasons.

So for those of you who knew it already, pat yourself on the back. For those that didn’t, heed advice from above otherwise you could soon be walking the plank with your brand…