If you're ordinarily selling a handbag for $3,300, is the Groupon audience really your target audience? If someone can afford to pay $2,412 for this item, can they not afford to pay $3,300?
Proponents of this offer will say that an $888 discount might inspire people to make the purchase. Others may argue there are presumably very few people on Groupon looking for $2,400 handbags, and in the meantime, they are acting as a discounter, which very few high end brands aspire to be. That disconnection between their brand positioning and their promotional activity might create brand confusion among the handbag shopping audience, which ultimately may cause them to shop elsewhere.
LESSON FOR MARKETERS:
One of your most important jobs as a marketer is to figure out who your audience is, and where they make their purchase decisions. THAT'S where you advertise. Advertising elsewhere may not be a total waste, but it's certainly a less efficient use of your advertising resources.
Where do you stand? Is this a valid promotional effort that can only lead to additional sales? Or is it an offer that's not even reaching the target audience and causing brand confusion in the meantime?
Advertising builds Brand Awareness. And you always need Brand Awareness. You need it when you're starting out and want to establish yourself, you need it when you're growing and want to steal customers from the competition, and you need it when you're the market leader (as Tim Hortons clearly is) and want to solidify your spot at the top.
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
To stop advertising when you feel like you don't want or need more customers is to make yourself vulnerable to those businesses that are trying to steal the ones you have.
What do you think? Is it a waste?
In my previous blog post, I listed the top 10 marketing highlights from 2015. In it, I (among other things) congratulate a brand -- Big Ass Fans -- that very cleverly poked fun at Kim Kardashian and her.... um.... well, let's leave it at that. Hoping that it might be an interesting post for business owners interested in marketing their business, I decided to post it on Facebook and boost the post with some advertising dollars. The image that I assigned to the Facebook post (shown above) was of her bare back (only!). According to Facebook's advertising guidelines, that was too much skin. I chose the image because my Facebook post described the blog post as "A look back at the marketing topics that are important...", and Kim Kardashian is looking back at the camera. See what I did there? Alas, the ad wasn't approved, and I had to change the Facebook post image to something far less clever.
It got me thinking, though, of the difference between Facebook and print media when it comes to marketing and advertising. On one hand you have Facebook who earned $16 billion in advertising revenue in 2015. On the other hand you have traditional print media (including magazines), who are suffering unprecedented declines in advertising revenue. This gives Facebook the flexibility and authority it needs to insist that advertising be done the proper way. This makes print media desperate for whatever ad revenue it can scrape together. Case in point: the Kim Kardashian image I am referring to is from a recent edition of Paper magazine who, as I'm sure you know, resorted to sexism for their cover photo and to full frontal nudity on the pages inside. It was clearly a desperate move to boost circulation, which would presumably attract advertisers.
Four thoughts on the matter:
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
Am I too much of a Facebook apologist? Am I overly critical of print?
A lot of really interesting things happened in the world of marketing in 2015. If you read this blog or follow us on social media, we talked about most of them. But I'm under no illusion that you read every post, so now that we're heading into a brand new year, I thought I would take a look back and pick out the 10 posts that I really hope you read at the time. They are (in no particular order) important things to know for business owners and marketers alike, and they'll help you be the best marketer you can be in 2016!
Enjoy! Discuss! Debate! Comment! Share!
1) Stop using social media to talk about yourself. Look at your posts. Would you really say those things?
Look back at your social media posts from the past year and imagine that you were actually saying those things, in real life, to real people. My guess is you probably won't like what you hear. Social media is real conversation with real people. Keep that in mind with every post. Mashable, if you know them, is really good at this. Click here to read more.
2) Web design has changed. Drastically. It's gone minimalist!
It's almost like web designers across the globe are in a secret contest to see who can create the home page with the biggest image and the fewest words. For good reason though! Hubspot is bang-on with their analysis of the latest design trends (read it here). How does your web site compare?
3) Advertising that taps into the social conversation has much greater reach and impact.
Advertising used to be about saying to people what you wanted them to hear. It's still about that to some extent, but if you can, instead, tap into the social commentary at all, it not only resonates better, but it makes you look like you're connected to your audience (rather than spewing ad copy that was written in some ivory tower). Case in point: this Salvation Army ad that connected their message to the craze that was the "what-colour-is-the-dress?" debate. Well played.
4) Simpler is better. If you can't explain what you do in really simple terms, you won't get anyone to listen.
Einstein once said "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough". This is so true, especially as it pertains to your offer. How do you expect to get anyone to talk about you if you can't make it easy for them to understand what it is that you do? Read more about this here.
5) Social media is better for listening than for talking. So few businesses know this.
Businesses are notorious for talking about themselves on social media. That's fine to a certain extent, since it raises brand awareness and leads to purchase consideration. But social media is a more valuable tool for listening. Nowhere is it easier to listen to what people are talking about. People like your customers, your competitors, industry experts, business partners, subject matter experts, and so on. Are you listening (and learning) at least as much as you're talking? Listen to what Marketing Profs has to say about this topic (here). They are so wise!
6) The more clever you are, the more memorable you are. Just ask Big Ass Fans.
Big Ass Fans won the internet in February when they cleverly poked fun at the Kim Kardasian Paper Magazine cover which accentuates her prominent... well... you know... posterior. I had even more to say about their brilliance in this post, but the point is that they were really clever. Now that you've seen this, I dare you to forget it (you won't be able to). I also dare you to forget the name of their company.
7) Brilliant design also makes you memorable. Just ask Sonos.
Check out the logo below from Sonos, a company that makes speakers. Notice what happens when you scroll up and down. Pure genius. Now I dare you to forget the name of this speaker brand.
8) Superbowl ads are a bargain at $4.5 million per 30-second spot. Yes, you heard me right.
Alright, alright. I know you don't have $4.5 million for ONE TV ad. But the point of this post is that advertising is mostly a numbers game. Once you've identified who your target audience is, figure out where they spend their time. Then find all the advertising opportunities in that area and calculate the cost-per-impression. For the sake of illustration, let's assume there are 5 different magazines that are circulated to your target audience. For each magazine, what is the circulation, and what is the cost to advertise? That's your cost-per-impression. The magazine with the lowest cost-per-impression gets your advertising dollars (the same logic applies to cost-per-click advertising). With advertising, especially digital advertising, the math is simple, so use it to your advantage and optimize your spend (rather than spending on whatever advertising opportunity happens to be in front of you that day). In the case of Superbowl advertisers like Coca-Cola and Budweiser, they know their target audience is watching the game, and they know how many of them will see their ad. For them, $4.5 million is a bargain at twice the price (the math is explained in the post).
9) Target was destined to fail in Canada, because nobody had any good reason to shop there, really.
Sadly, Target folded after a very short stint in this great country of ours. But the reason for their failure was simple: they offered consumers nothing that Walmart didn't already offer, and Walmart was already here. We, as human beings, are fundamentally resistant to change, so why would we change where we shop when there's no difference between the shops? Target, in their arrogance, didn't fully understand this before making their decision to expand. Click here to read more about the importance of having something different or unique to offer.
10) To close out our list, just remember to be interesting! Especially on social media. Boring sucks.
Marketing Profs (them again!) wrote a great piece about social media strategy for businesses. In it, they implore you to stop being boring! I couldn't agree more. And it's really that simple.
What do you think are the big marketing topics from 2015? I'd love to hear them!
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
- Albert Einstein
Truer words about marketing have never been spoken.
The internet age is fast. Consumers want access to products and services more quickly than ever before, but more importantly, they want information about products and services even more quickly, before they decide which products or services to buy.
We use social media to ask our friends for referrals and recommendations, and we get that feedback almost instantaneously. We read product reviews on web sites that are accurate as of that moment. We use apps that allow us to scan product bar codes (in the store!) then tell us where to buy them for the best price. We Google a brand or product then scan the meta descriptions in the results to learn all we need to know, in mere seconds. Our access to information, opinion and evaluation of brands is unprecedentedly fast.
What does this mean for marketers? It means you need to be able to describe what it is that you offer, and why anyone would be interested in buying it, in mere seconds. That means it needs to be simple. Exceedingly simple. If we have but seconds to describe our offer to consumers, it needs to be more concise and appealing than it currently is.
Here are some of the best examples of offers that are exceedingly clear, concise and appealing:
What do all these products and brands have in common? They are all successful. Why? because their offers are so simple and so attractive that everyone is talking about them (especially since the products/brands are easy for anyone to describe). They didn't need massive ad buys to spread the word when they launched these products. They created an offer so simple and so attractive that word spread on its own. Fast. Enabled by the internet.
That precious word-of-mouth advertising is only enabled if the product or brand in question can be explained simply. Just as Einstein foresaw.
What a genius.
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
It's simple (pun intended): Try to describe your offer to someone in 3 seconds or less. And make it good! Anyone can describe an offer in 3 seconds or less. The trick is to describe an offer that's compelling enough to inspire people to talk about it or buy it... in 3 seconds or less. Good luck!
Any simple, attractive products or brands to add to the list?
LESSON FOR MARKETERS:
The FIRST thing to do it the difficult but important work of deciding who your brand wants to reach. It all starts from there. If you've done that already, show it to people that haven't seen it and get their honest opinion about how well you done that.
What do you think of the ad?
Michael Sam, the first openly gay athlete to be selected in the NFL draft, wasn't fortunate enough to make the lineup of any NFL team. On Friday he found a home with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes.
The Huffington Post wrote about it and posted a link to their article on Facebook (image on the left), giving us the headline and the key information we needed to decide if we were interested in reading more or not. NFL.com, the click-baiters on the right, gave us nothing. They teased us, forcing (or baiting) us to click to find out which team signed him.
In the HuffPo example, they may not get as many clicks, but the click-throughs will be engaged readers, interested in all HuffPo has to say about this story. In the NFL.com example, they will get more clicks (probably the same number of engaged readers as with the HuffPo example, and a few more of the curious uninformed) which, presumably, allows them to sell advertising at higher rates. But at what cost?
In my case, I'm annoyed by NFL.com. They've given me so little information that I'm forced to click to get the basic information that I need. So annoyed in fact that I didn't click on that link. Instead, I continued down my Facebook feed and clicked on the HuffPo link to read the whole story.
LESSON(S) FOR MARKETERS
What do you think? Am I the anomaly? Is it worth it to annoy your readers to get more traffic? Comment below.
So today I happened to notice as I was browsing through sporting events on television that the Nascar Sprint Cup Series race this weekend is the SpongeBob SquarePants 400.
No, that's not a typo. Yes, that's the official logo of the event.
This one has me scratching my head.
I have always said that one of the most important strategies for marketing success is to 1) define your target audience, 2) figure out where they make their purchase decisions, then 3) market to them there.
For example, I recently noticed an online ad on autotrader.ca for a used car dealership. Perfect! The target audience in this case is people shopping for a used car. Those people make purchase decisions based on what they see on that site. So the used car dealership advertises there! Brilliant.
Presumably, the target audience for Nickelodeon is children. Presumably, the audience at a NASCAR event is primarily adults. In fact, according to this NASCAR demographics study, 100% of fans describe themselves as at least 18 years old.
So why on Earth would Nickelodeon sponsor the race??
My guess is they believe the general brand awareness will trickle down to the children through things like merchandise, commercials on television, and so on. But that's an expensive approach to awareness building to kids...who probably aren't watching the race!
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
With every marketing tactic, think about the proportion of the audience (for the tactic) that will closely resemble your target audience. Start with the marketing tactics with the highest proportion, and work down from there.
Using the examples from above, the proportion of children at a NASCAR race is close to 0%. The proportion of used car shoppers on autotrader.ca is approaching 100%. Dollar-for-dollar, the autotrader.ca marketing spend is clearly the most efficient.
What do you think? Why would they possibly do this?
We've all had crappy friends.
Among the worst of our crappy friends is the friend that likes you when he needs something from you, but completely discards you when he doesn't.
Facebook needs you. They need your advertising dollars so they can please shareholders, so they roll out slick advertising apps that allow your business to target just the customers you want to target, and they make the pricing model very enticing. It really is a great advertising model that allows for real-time testing, tweaking, measurement and results.
But just as quickly as Facebook befriends you, they toss you aside. As Fast Company points out, your Facebook posts appear in the Feeds of your fans about 2% of the time. 2%. Unless you boost the post (give Facebook money to show it to people), brand posts are barely shown to anyone. Now you see how Facebook really feels about you. They don't really do anything for your business unless you have something to give them. Some friend.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
What do you think? Have you given money to Facebook? With any success? Are you succeeding without advertising? We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Yes, I'm a marketing nerd, so yes, the Super Bowl ads are worth talking about to me. So here I go!
First, here are the criteria for a great ad:
So, ON TO THE LIST! I tried to select the top 3 ads, but there are 4 clearly superior ads. Hey, at least it creates symmetry, since there are four quarters in a football game! It's a stretch, I know. Here we go:
Q1 - CHEVY
WHY IT'S GREAT: It's certainly memorable, since it terrifies us that the Super Bowl coverage has blacked out!! The message is simple, and it makes us want that truck, which elevates the brand!
Q2 - ESURANCE
WHY IT'S GREAT: This one is exceedingly memorable. The 'sorta you' concept is brilliant, it ties in to pop culture with the Breaking Bad connection, and the script is actually quite funny. I also give it points for the simplicity of the message: coverage specific to YOU. Bonus points for the #sorta hashtag at the end.
Q3 - T-MOBILE
WHY IT'S GREAT: This ad is also extremely memorable. It's funny, and it stars Kim Kardashian West who is one of the biggest celebrities on the planet. I don't have a lot of good things to say about her, but her willingness to poke fun at herself makes the ad more enjoyable. Of all the Super Bowl ads, this one also boasts the clearest message: T-Mobile lets your keep your unused data.
Q4 - ALWAYS
WHY IT'S GREAT: This one excels at all categories. The message is clear and simple ('Hey girls, Always has your back'), it definitely taps into our emotions, and it elevates Always brand in our minds. As added bonuses, the logo is interspersed in the ad, and the #LikeAGirl hashtag is a social media hit.
LESSON FOR MARKETERS
If you're creating an ad (in any form, not just TV), remember the criteria. Can you list them in your head without scrolling back to the top?
Here is a complete compilation of the Super Bowl ads. Which ones do you like better than the four listed here? Drop us a comment!
This blog is written by Glenn Cressman, Share Of Marketing's founder and Chief Share Builder (bio). It covers all things marketing. Feel free to comment!
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