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PostHeaderIcon Targeted Advertising: Tailoring Paid Search

 I just got back from SMX East, and will have lots to write in the next few days.  One thing I’ve noticed, Danny Sullivan and his team can write up entire articles on the same day that a piece of news comes out.  Of course, that is their job, but here is Danny presenting, moderating, and hosting SMX East and finding time to write articles in between.  It’s a skill I have yet to develop.  I need to concentrate to write and can’t do it in the middle of sessions or hectic meetings (although i can do it just fine at Starbucks).Sara Holoubek

So while I’m a bit behind the folks at SearchEngineLand, I think you will still find the information useful.My first entry is a quick discussion of the term "targeted advertising."  In the "BigWig Crystal Ball Panel",   Sara Holoubek , a well known interactive technology consultant and speaker, objected to the term "targeted advertising."  "It’s a terrible term from a branding perspective,"  she said.  "Who wants to be a target?" 

She recommended, instead, the term "tailored advertising."  "I don’t care if you advertise to me,"  she continued in her chat, "as long as it is relevant to my concerns."  Her acceptance of advertising tailored to her interests corresponds to the results of market research we did on email advertising a few years ago.  In that research, consumers indicated they would accept an unlimited number of marketing emails as long as the content and offers were immediately relevant to their current needs. (From a practical perspective, "immediately relevant" is the difficult term because what is immediately relevant can change within minutes.)

Her comment was a real "aha!" moment for me – and I told her so afterwards.  This needed change in terminology is so obvious that as a brand-savvy marketer, it should have screamed "bad positioning" to me from the getgo.  But then, just as briliiant engineering designs are only obvious after a gifted engineer visualizes the solution, so brilliant marketing ideas are only obvious after a smart person has spoken them at some important conference.

So I want to both thank Sara for waking me from my stupor on this subject, and also support her, starting today, by evangelizing the change in technical term to  tailored advertising from its current usage as targeted advertising.

Now that that’s settled, on to changing "public relations" to "perception manipulation"….no no I  mean "image enhancement" (only kidding).


PostHeaderIcon Social Media Channel Architectures – Part 2

We left off last time having defined a conceptual approach to channel architecture with an example of a new type of soap – “Greensoap” which has three unique advantages: it sends fewer harmful chemicals into the water supply, it doesn’t get mushy when stored, and it is 50% cheaper than other leading brands.  How do we leverage a social media channel architecture for this product launch?

Following the model (and in fact basic marketing 101), we first need to know what audiences we are targeting.  In this case there are three which can be defined based on attitudes and behaviors:

  • Green Consumers.  Green consumers most important attitude is that they believe the environment must be protected, that current economics doesn’t measure the “true cost” of products, and that if the true cost were available we would see that dumping chemicals into the environment (and later having to remediate) is more expensive than just selling a green product in the first place.   They are split evenly between men and women, predominantly 18 – 35, and average income of $45,000/year.  Their behaviors: they tend to shop at smaller stores with a focus on environmental sensitivity, they are relatively price insensitive up to a 20% price increase over non-green products, and they tend to be vocal in online communities around green issues.
  • Vacation Travelers.  These folks tend to bring soap rather than use what is in the hotel room because their stays are longer and they travel with their families of 2.2 kids (whereas business travelers stay short periods, want to travel as light as possible, and so use in-room soap provided by the hotel).  This audience is mainly women 30 – 50 and is concerned with minimizing the burdens of “household  care” – meaning keeping a clean house, clean kids, and organized environment.  75% have a job, are incredibly time constrained and stressed.  They tend to shop at one store, usually a major grocery chain outlet between work and home.  If a product makes their life one iota easier, they will consider it.  They are highly swayed by friends and family validation that a product meets its promises.  Once they try a product, they are incredibly loyal up to a price premium of 25% over their current brand.
  • The Thrifty Shopper.   This buyer always worries about money and saving it is their first priority.  Split equally between men and women, the demographic is flat across all age groups, with a slight peak within 60+ years groups due to their fixed incomes (+ life experience during Depression and WWII).  This buyer shops in big box stores and low-cost chain grocery stores like Safeway and Savemart.  No product loyalty whatsoever – they’ll switch brands for as little as a 5 cent savings. 

The next step in the model is to figure out what kinds of media these audiences use and where they are likely to be on the web.  Figure 1 shows the mapping of audience to media, platform, and social media sites.  The sites listed are intended to be category “examples” – meaning that they are only one potential site that could be used.  For example, in column 2, cafemom indicates women-focused social media networks. 

 Figure 1
Mapping Prospective Audiences to Social Media Channel Categories

Mapping Example Audiences to Social Media Channels

The third step is to define our messages to each audience (if we haven’t already done so).  For purposes of this example, we’re going to keep this to one message per consumer segment:

  • Green Consumers: Greensoap leaves you AND the world a cleaner place.
  • Vacation Travelers: Greensoap keeps your family clean and your life simple.
  • The Thrifty Shopper: Greensoap keeps you clean and green at 50% of the cost of other soap.

In the next post we’ll put together the campaigns and then show how we apply them to the various media channels.  Stay tuned.



PostHeaderIcon Social Media Channel Architectures – Gotcha!

Well, this morning has been quite interesting.  I got home last night to log into ping.fm (which is where I centralize a lot of my channel management). I went to post a new item and noticed that all my feeds had disappeared. Now, I’ve been moving my online brand/identity over from arthurofsun to onlinematters (more on that soon), so I thought maybe I was logged into the wrong account. But then I realized I didn’t open a new account for ping.fm – just renamed the old one to my new username.

That’s when I noticed this message on the home page:

If you created your account between September 2nd and September 8th and you are unable to login, you will need to re-create your account. Sorry for this inconvenience! You can read more as to why by clicking here.

Turns out, the folks at ping.fm had a database server crash that lost six days of data. It so happened that I was setting up an entire channel architecture for our business on the 5th and 6th, so while my account wasn’t gone, my entire distribution network had been deleted. I had no clue this was happening, so all my posts yesterday went spinning off willy-nilly into the ether. Very frustrating to realize that I had no warning; no alerts. To boot, I’ve had the pleasure spending this morning reestablishing the entire ping.fm network.

The lesson in all of this is that social media, and its associated infrastructure, is still very young. If you depend on social media to make a living, then you should make a habit of double checking your feeds and channels on a regular basis to ensure they are still running correctly – that is, until a service comes along that allows you from a single console to manage, monitor, and repair your social media feeds (hint hint).

So instead of writing my blog this am, I was recreating the channel by which it can reach you. My apologies. We’ll be back tomorrow.


PostHeaderIcon Social Media Channel Architectures – Part 1

I am often doing social media projects for clients.  As part of that, I have to figure out how to make the most impact for limited dollars.  But that is no different than what I normally do for any other marketing program.

In fact, that’s the point – social media, while it has different dynamics, is fundamentally no different than other marketing programs.  You have a set of audiences you wish to reach.  Audiences should (but often aren’t) defined by attitudinal and behavioral traits.  You have a set of messages to deliver.  You have a set of media you can produce in.  And you have the communication channels to distribute that message (Figure 1). 

Figure 1 – How Audience, Messages, and Content Impact the Selection of Social Media Channels

 Basic social media communications model by onlinematters

The goal is to get 6-10 impressions on the same audience through various channels within a specified period of time.  Research shows that it takes 6-10 impressions for the average consumer to begin to  “notice” a message through today’s incredible media clutter, so that has to be the minimum target.  That number, of course, can be delivered through other than online means (radio, tv, print, billboards), but given how easy it is to deliver messages online, it is worth trying to reach that number of channels online and then consider anything offline as an added benefit (or for those advertisers who use more traditional media, vice-versa).  And let’s be clear,  6-10 impressions gets you noticed, but doesn’t necessarily get recognition or retention of the message.  That can take hundreds of impressions – so it pays to use online as a vehicle to extend the brand and message reach, since it is easy to get into numerous channels.

How do you do this?  The approach is to match your audience with media type and channels.  In some cases an audience is reading- or text-oriented.  In others, they like audio; others video.  Most will be focused on multiple media options, with one as a preferred mode.  Thus, you need to chose the right sites within a hierarchy of media for the audiences you want to reach (Figure 2).

Figure 2 – Example of a Media-Segmented Social Media Channel Architeecture

A complete social media channel architecture from onelinematters

So let’s take an example.  You are going to create a campaign around a new brand of soap.  Three things make this soap different.  First, it is “green” – meaning it provably has a reduced impact on chemicals that go down the drainpipe and into the water system.  Second, it comes with a built-in case for travelling that is water tight but to which the soap doesn’t stick or get mushy (I wish).  Third, it is half the price of products that don’t have these features.   The soap will be sold directly from your website, from online retailers, in grocery stores, in drug stores, and in big box retailers like Target and Walmart.

We will continue the example tomorrow.  Hopefully the suspense of the case study will get your attention through the media clutter and we’ll get you back.


PostHeaderIcon A Data Point on the Generational Digital Divide

A quick follow up to my last post about how the generations understand communication and influence online.  A small data point, but an enlightening one.  Last week I went to my 25th business school reunion at Stanford.  We are a very close as classes go, so it is always great to come back together and catch up.  While I was there, I realized no one had set up a Facebook group for us to share, so I took the initiative and did so – setting up the Stanford GSB 1984 group.  In the process I discovered two fascinating facts:

  1. About 90% of my class didn’t even have Facebook accounts.  That is truly staggering, when you consider that many of these folks still live and work in Silicon Valley and have a mindset for trying whatever is new and exciting. 
  2. In terms of classes – only 2 from the 1970’s have a Facebook group, 3 from the 1980s (including mine), 8 from the 1990s (and all from 1995 on), and every class from 2000 on (including the Classes of 2010 and 2011).  The 1995 break is very telling – that is the year the World Wide Web exploded into public consciousness as Mosaic and then the Netscape browser took off.

The takewaway for me is that the age at which the true “digital divide” occurs between those who grew up with the Internet as either an environment or a context and those who didn’t is now about 39 years old.  This assumes that the average age of someone graduating from the GSB in 1995 was 25 years of age.  This corresponds with what I have previously said about the online generations and where the age split is between them. 

Always nice to get confirmation of one’s hypotheses, even if it is only one small datapoint.

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