Friday, May 14, 2010

The Social Media Advantage

If you've been paying attention to social media as a branding tool, you know about its amazing ability to help you, and your company, to form relationships. These relationships help to ensure that you have customers that will think of you first during their purchase decisions.

Unfortunately, many businesses still have not taken the necessary steps to effectively use their social media. Many have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, but they use them strictly for self promotion. Status updates and tweets, which they use to let consumers know about new products and deals, are their primary concern.

The problem is that this way of thinking is outdated. It relies on a method of communication that travels in only one direction; from the business to the consumer. Social media, however, allows for much more. It is a place where two way communication is possible. Not only can a business communicate with its customers, but the customers have their say as well.

The key then becomes listening. It is absolutely necessary to be aware of what people are saying about your company or your product. It's really like free, and simplified, research. You see what people find favorable and attractive, as well as what they dislike. Based on this knowledge, you can make changes that will make a purchase more desirable.

Another benefit is that many customers are more likely to complain on social media. When this occurs, the source is easily identifiable. Since you know who has a problem, and what their problem is, you have a much better chance of responding properly.

Remember, social media can be a great marketing tool, but it must be used properly. This powerful medium should be used to form and maintain relationships.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Life is Hard. Advertising is Harder.

Advertising is developing an increasing need to be entertaining. Gainging viewers used to be as simple as putting an ad on network TV. Most people were watching TV, and there really weren't enough shows to make the audience difficult to reach.

Now, not only do we have massive segmentation of the audience, from magazines to 500 channel TV packages, we also have an increase in power for the consumer. Sure they always had the option to change the channel, but now they can zip through them or zap past them all together with their DTV recorders. There is so much interactivity on the web that anything else hardly catches a second glance.

This makes it absolutely necessary to find new ways to capture the audience's attention and keep them engaged. Another challenge to this is keeping trust. When you are advertising energy drinks or spray on scents, it isn't as much of a problem. You can show something very comical, and people will remember your advertisement and your product in a positive way. If you have a more serious product, like car insurance for example, it can be a little tricker. Humorous insurance advertisements have been shown to capture the audiences attention. What it does not do, however, is establish the brand as trustworthy or even differentiate the brand from others, aside from the possibility of not falling into the "stuffy auto company" category.

In anycase, advertising is getting more difficult. Greater barriers are being faced to engage the audience and persuade them into action.

I love a challenge.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cell Phone Applications

Applications for cell phones are becoming an excellent way for promoters to send their message directly to the consumers. With the popularity of smartphones, it is becoming much easier to reach people through this method.

One of the major benefits is that with every application downloaded, you learn about something they are interested in. If a consumer downloads a restaurant finder, this would be a great place to put an ad for, you got it, restaurants.

Also, it helps because the message is sent directly to one individuals screen. This makes it much simpler to send different messages to different people. Since everyone has slightly different preferences and attitudes, sending various individually targeted messages is a very beneficial practice.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bathroom Advertising

No idea, aside from paying everyday people to put giant RedBull cans on their car, has sparked my interest like bathroom advertising. It is a double sided coin that must examined carefully.

The only real problem with using the bathroom and an advertising medium is that it may make consumers feel uncomfortable. People already feel that they are bombarded with messages. Putting more messages in the one place people feel they will be left alone, may make them feel overwhelmed. It should also be considered how associating brands with this activity may affects consumer's overall perception of the brand.

The benefit is that it delivers results. Think about it. There's not much entertainment in the restroom. A lot of people read in the bathroom of their home, but they have no reading material with them when they are in public restrooms. This assures they will read your message. It has even been shown that if they make repeat visits to the restroom, they will read the message every time they go. There is also a 40% stronger retention rate than with other media impressions. The viewing time, as compared to billboards, printed ads, posters, and fliers, is more than six times longer. Perhaps most compelling is the fact that 92% of people surveyed could recall the name of the advertiser without prompting.

In any case, it is unlikely that bathroom advertising will stop at this point. The reactions seem favorable enough, and the amount of attention paid to these ads makes it doubtful that advertisers will abandon this medium anytime soon.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Breaking In

For a soon to be college graduate, the task of breaking into the advertising industry can present itself as an extremely daunting challenge. Most often, the jobs you see that are available ask for a portfolio. Aside from a few copy or design assignments from schools, most students have little to show for their educations. Couple this with the industry's expectation of two years experience for entry level positions, and most students feel that they are stuck in a catch 22 that will keep them waiting tables well into their adult life.

The best advice I can offer these people is to not be afraid. Don't stop yourself from contacting everyone you think could possibly use your help. Don't stop yourself from taking internships or assignments that don't deal directly with your career path of choice. Offer to work for free. This may seem like a difficult task when you are juggling school, work, and possible clubs such as the AAF. Did I mention you should join the AAF? Anyway, the experience from working for free will be far more valuable than money. Also, some people are more likely to hire you for pay when you are willing to work for free. They just love that go getter attitude of yours. Freelance. While this can seem as challenging as starting the career itself, once you find a client or two who is willing to work with you, things really take off. Now you have references, portfolio material, and experience.

The main thing is to put yourself out there. Take every assignment or job that you can get your hands on. Take an interest in what you do, and soak up everything you learn like a sponge

or a sham wow.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Research is necessary for any advertising campaign. It is necessary to find out what issues are preventing any particular product or service from achieving greater sales, or greater sales growth. It can also show you how the competition is interacting with consumers.

The problem with research, however, is that its answers are speculative, but are not treated as such. Consumers can provide excellent ideas, but these ideas are only a starting point to help jump start the agenda planning.

Research is not an excuse for poor advertising. Just because a focus group in Idaho led you to believe that your campaign would be received with open arms, does not take away personal accountability.

In conclusion, research is necessary. It is a step in the process, a means to an end, but not an end in and of itself.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Content this!

In the old days, it was simple. Advertisers paid programs for Ad space based on the number of viewers that particular program had. Now, however, technology allows the advertisers to track how many of the program's viewers also watch the commercials.

This works out very well for the advertisers because now they don't have to pay for people who are flipping the channel as soon as they are given a chance to reach them. What I find to be interesting, though, is how this effects television.

It is common knowledge that "content is king". If you want someone to engage with your newspaper, magazine, book, website, radio or television program, you have to have good content to keep them coming. Now, television programs will not only have to have good enough content to attract viewers, they will also have to make sure that their content attracts the type of viewers who will stick around to watch the Ads.