Sunday, June 24, 2007
Hillary Clinton's latest video is a teaser encouraging voters to go to Hillary Clinton's website to see which song she will be using for her campaign.
I find this ending to be similar, yet better than the last episode of Sopranos. The commercial goes blank at the very end, then text appears encouraging voters find out the winning song by visiting her website. I wonder if the final episode of Sopranos would have went over better with viewers had its producers created a special website encouraging viewers to visit it for more details. Instead, the screen went blank during the final episode of Sopranos. This caused millions of viewers to search for their remote controls or call their cable/satellite providers to may sure there were no technical difficulties.
Personally, I feel Hillary Clinton does a great job taking a page out of the Sopranos book and improving it for this teaser video. It posted on June 19, 2007 and has more than 86,000 views and 340 comments.
Here is a Consumer Generated Media (CGM) video about presidential candidate Barack Obama. This is another great example how social media will impact the 2008 presidential election. It was posted on June 15, 2007 and already has 10,000 views and 49 comments.
I am helping USA BABY spend its marketing dollars wisely. USA BABY is looking to get away from traditional marketing activities (i.e. commercials) since they are not as effective as they would like. Therefore, I'm helping them find new methods to reach their target market, first time parents with household incomes greater than $40,000. I am currently assisting USA BABY run Pay Per Click (PPC) ads in Google. Additionally, I have been monitoring the ads and it appears they are having some success. I hope to find some other cost effectives ways to promote USA BABY Cincinnati.
I am also working with MDE to improve its search engine optimization. I have had some success improving their rankings by updating text, H1 headers, titles and meta tags. We are now in the process of building a link campaign. Additionally, I am assisting MDE create a company blog.
Unfortunately, I'm not getting paid to do this work. However, I am learning a great deal that I would not get otherwise. I hope this "extra" work ultimately helps me in my career. I really do enjoy marketing activities (i.e. marketing research and marketing strategies).
Feel free to let me know if you need some market research performed. I can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
I've been trying to keep everyone up to date about new contests where companies seek consumer interaction. Doritos X-13D seems to be the clear winner at this point. It is receiving the most buzz in the blogosphere.
*Kodak's Thinklikeryan.com just launched officially June 27, 2007. You can find more information about it by reading Kodak's press release.
I've compiled a list of several companies using social media in 2007.
1. Doritos X-13D
2. Heinz TopThisTV
3. Kodak's Thinklikeryan
Ad Age reports Geico getting ahead with big advertisement spending. The auto insurer with the multiple spokescharacters has increased its ad spending a whopping 75% since 2004. Geico, with its cavemen and gecko, has been the main driver of this skyrocketing spending. The category's next-biggest spender is Progressive, which spent $265 million in 2006, up from $201 million in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.
As for brand image, the study says, "Geico occupies unique terrain in the auto-insurance space as a relatively inexpensive carrier that is fun. State Farm and Allstate, on the other hand, occupy more traditional territory (expensive and serious)." I find this strategy similar to WAMU (Washington Mutual). It is trying the shed the image of being a stodgy bank.
The trend graph below shows buzz levels for Geico, State Farm and Progressive in the blogosphere. Overall, Geico receives the most buzz followed by state farm. Geico receives the most discussion due to consumers frequently mentioning its commercials featuring the gecko and caveman.
Personally, I have experience with State Farm, Progressive and Geico. I was with State Farm during my teens and early twenties. I was involved in one accident (not my fault) but found myself covering the deductible since the person who rear-ended me was uninsured. I had to contact a local news station to report on the issue before I getting my deductible back from State Farm. Afterwards, I switched to Progressive. I feel their rates are very competitive. Additionally, I am able to contact them 24-7. My wife and I thought about switching car insurance companies recently. And of course, Geico to was "top of mind." Unfortunately, we did not go with them since they could not save us any money. I am still with Progressive.
I feel Geico's advertising is effective. As I mentioned, they were "top of mind" when I first decided to switch car insurance companies. I would have went with them had their rates been more competitive.
I would really advise Geico to make sure it really can save each consumer hundreds of dollars before getting them to inquire. Otherwise, Geico may end up with more people complaining about them online rather than blogging and posting messages about its commercials.
Doritos introduced its "Crash the Super Bowl" contest in Fall 2006. Consumers were encouraged to submit their own commercial to be aired during the Super Bowl. That promotion was deemed a huge success. Interestingly, Doritos has done it again! They have found a way to create yet another intriguing marketing promotion involving consumers. Doritos has recently introduced X-13D NAME THE FLAVOR contest.
Doritos X-13D chips have a bold, new, mysterious flavor. Doritos encourages everyone to taste them and let their mouth decide. 100 lucky people who submit a name will become Doritos Flavor Masters.
I came across the chips while going back and forth between the aisles at a local Wal-Mart. I came to the chips aisle and immediately noticed an interesting black and white Doritos bag titled "X-13D." I decided to check them out.
At first, I thought the chips tasted like a Burger King Whopper. I like Whoppers, so that was a good thing. I continued eating away. Meanwhile, I was reading the information on the bag. I found out that I could text the name of the flavor I wanted to submit to 24477. Therefore I did.
I feel this promotion will be very successful. Doritos has a lot of experience implementing marketing initiatives deriving from consumers input. I only wish more companies would look to involving consumers.
I've compiled a list of several companies using social media in 2007.
1. Doritos X-13D
2. Heinz TopThisTV
3. Kodak's Thinklikeryan
Feel free to let me know if I've missed any. I'll do some analysis to see which company's social marketing initiatives are receiving the most buzz. I'll report my findings later this summer.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Kodak's newest marketing effort is a contest to paint NASCAR driver Ryan Newman's car. You can find out more information about this contest at Thinklikeryan.com. Participants will be able to create and submit a design. The winning design will be painted on Ryan Newman's car and featured in an upcoming NASCAR race.
Personally, I think this is a great ideal. A lot of companies have had incorporating Consumer Generated Media (CGM) into their marketing efforts. Doritos and General Motors (GM) both incorporated social media aspects in their Super Bowl promotions. Those were deemed a success. Additionally, Kodak has some prior experiences launching interactive contests. For example, KODAK Easyshare Gallery launched a photo contest in support of Olympics in November 2005. Overall, I feel Kodak's contest to paint Ryan Newman's car will go over well, especially with NASCAR fans.
The trend graph above compares online discussion from bloggers about Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman. Discussion about Ryan Newman primarily took place prior to the Daytona 500, Kobalt Tools 500 and Food City 500 races. Discussion about Ryan Newman in the blogosphere is currently trending downward. In contrast, discussion about Dale Jr. has been rising. It peaked on June 13, 2007 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his decision to race for Hendrick Motorsports.
Unfortunately, I can't provide a lot of information about this contest just yet. I haven't found much on Kodak's website since the contest has not officially launched. Additionally, the only link that comes up when I Google "thinklikeryan" is Kodak's contest website, Thinklikeryan.com. I encourage everyone to check the site themselves or visit my blog again. I am interested to see if there will be an interactive element such as internet voting incorporated with this contest. I will post more information about the contest as it becomes available.
The graph below shows search results for "thinklikeryan." Amazingly, Google only returned one result which was a link to Thinklikeryan.com. That is a first!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
AdAge reports companies are beginning to shift their focus from Wal-Mart as it plans to scale back its huge expansion plans. Wal-Mart is a huge retailer which provides the majority of sales for some companies and their products. It is currently adding about 200 Supercenters annually and provides more gross sales than its three nearest rivals -- Costco, Target and Kroger Co. -- combined.
There is no question that Wal-Mart is a key driver of sales for companies and their products. However, companies are finding that more sales do not necessarily mean higher profits. Therefore, they are looking out other outlets (i.e. Supermarkets and drug store chains) to pick up the slack.
Although it gets 26% of its sales from Wal-Mart, Clorox CEO Don Knauss said his company gets a third of its volume and a higher share of its profit from the supermarket channel. AdAge also reports that Procter & Gamble Co. and PepsiCo, already have shifted their strategies toward faster-growing or higher-potential accounts such as drug chains, Costco, Target and some faster-growing regional supermarkets.
Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that they do not want be dependent on Wal-Mart for their sales. They want to find new ways to grow their business profitably.Interestingly, P&G has, through acquisitions and growth in emerging markets, driven its share of sales from Wal-Mart down to 15% from 18% the past four years. Even Clorox Co., which gets 26% of its sales from Wal-Mart, seems to be paying more attention to other retailers, specifically supermarkets.
I have a few tips for companies looking to grow without Wal-Mart below:
1). Re-position products - A lot of companies position their products as "bargain" brands. It is tough to make a product stand out from the crowd if everyone else is saying their price is the lowest. Instead, position your product as a top-of-the-line item shifting the focus from price to quality. However, you may want to narrow down the number of retailers who carry your product if you intend to do this.
2). Selective Distribution - Selective distribution channels will help make your product exclusive and unique. Only make your product available at specific retailers. Paul Mitchell has done a great job using this strategy to promote its line of hair products.
3). Target a particular demographic/niche - You may want to consider partnering with retailers who specifically reach your target market. For example, you may want to develop a relationship with retailers like Gap, Old Navy or Macy*s if you are trying to reach the 25-34 crowd. In contrast, you may want your products to be exclusively sold through Bloomingdales or Nordstrom if you want to reach consumers living in households with annual incomes greater than $100,000.
I hope that some of my advice may be useful. Feel free to leave a comment or suggestion regarding anything I've written.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I love Pepsi, but it may be going to far with this. Needing a revenue boost, Cadbury and Pepsi are beginning to license their brand names. So far, No. 3 beverage giant Cadbury Schweppes has been the most aggressive. Last year, it expanded its partnership with Jelly Belly Candy Co. with the Jelly Belly Soda Pop Shoppe collection. And it already has relationships with Unilever's Good Humor for frozen novelties, Popsicle for sugar-free pops and Breyer's for an A&W-branded root-beer-float ice cream.
It appears that Pepsi is ready to follow suit as Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce, Aquafina skin-care products and Mountain Dew smoothies are all in the works. However, I’m not sure if I totally agree with this since it may dilute the brand equity for some of Pepsi's leading products. Look at what happened to Arm & Hammer in its attempt to become all things to all people(i.e. Arm & Hammer Detergent, Toothpaste, cleaning products, etc...). Now Arm & Hammer is not positioned to attract any particular market segment. Anyways, this is just my opinion. The bigger question relates to whether YOU want Dr. Pepper on YOUR chicken. Do you?
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Additionally, Rubel goes on to say,"There are three tangible lessons in Tim's story: 1) Go where bloggers are. 2) Be there with a message and a story that will appeal to their interests, not yours. 3) Nurture the relationships online and off. Agencies can replicate this success. The challenge is to do so while maintaining margins."
You can find out more about who bloggers are and where they talk by reading my post, Do Marketers Know Who Blogs? How Can They Find Out?
Volkswagen's new campaign from Crispin Porter & Bogusky aims to communicate the emotional experience of being inside its cars with the tagline, "When you get into a Volkswagen, it gets into you."
VW's previous campaign, "three V-dubs for under $17,000" launcehd to change consumers perceptions that its vehicles cost too much. Adage reports Adrian Hallmark, exec VP, Volkswagen of America, saying the strategy worked well in some regions (East and West) and for some models (the Rabbit) but not for the Beetle. "We found a drop in the price of a Beetle did not increase desirability," Hallmarkk said, indicating a one-size-fits-all approach wasn't the answer. "Shouting three for under $17,000 hasn't helped, so we are not going to try to compensate for what we are not."
To convey that theme, it has prepared six national TV spots about to break, and each will use a different song from Wilco's new album, "Sky Blue Sky." Andrew Keller, executive creative director at Crispin, said the words line up well with the VW brand.
In one of the first commercials, a tow-truck driver who enters a GTI he intends to tow is so enchanted he moves the car only a few feet -- out of the no-parking zone.
Mr. Keller said the value-model campaign was "an important step along the way," but he maintains that the brand's core value is that it's fun to drive.
Personally, I think VW should be congratulated on recognizing that its current campaign was not working and deciding to switch. It is never an easy decision for a brand to walk away from an unsuccessful campaign. Sometimes a brand manager or advertising agency may ask themselves if they could have done something more. Fortunately, other brands have changed campaigns quickly in the past. For example, American Express recently decided to change its campaign from 'My Life, My Card' to 'Are you a cardmember?'.
Monday, June 04, 2007
Here are three recommended blogs to get your MMA fix:
Sprawl n' Brawl.
I'll leave the MMA reporting to the big boys. However, feel free to let me know if you want additional information regarding MMA, UFC and IFL marketing efforts. I'll do my best to forward any information I may have. You can reach me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"This is simply not a passing fad that can be ignored," said Michael Gartenberg, analyst with Jupiter Research. The author says bloggers have great credibility. They use a recent event as evidence. Engadget reported that Apple's iPhone and Leopard operating system would be seriously delayed. Apple's stock price took an immediate dive, dropping some $4 billion in market capitalization before it was discovered that the information came from a fake leaked memo.
The article goes on to say "Consumers are also taking bloggers' word before they buy. A late 2006 Ipsos MORI survey found that blogs were a more trusted source of information than advertising or e-mail marketing. One-third of respondents said they had decided not to buy a product after reading a negative blog post, while 52% were persuaded to buy after reading a positive review." There is no denying that blogs influence consumers purchase behavior.
Unfortunately, most marketers do not know who is blogging about them. However, I have a few tips which may help them.
1. Type in the name of your company or product in Blogpulse, Technorati, Google Blog Search or any other blog search engine.
2. Collect a list of bloggers talking about your company or product.
3. Read bloggers post to see what they are saying about you. (This may be more important than knowing who they are since some bloggers like to remain anonymous)!
4. Click on a bloggers profile. Many bloggers provide demographic information (i.e. Who they are, Age, Sex, Location, E-mail etc...). This will give you a really good feel about who they are.
5. Determine how much influence a blogger has over other people. Do they post Consumer Generated Media (CGM) in other places (i.e. Discussion boards, Usenet groups, video content on YouTube)?
6. Find out who is in their 'Sphere of Influence'. Do any other bloggers link to them?
I hope these tips can help out some of my fellow marketers. Feel free to leave comments regarding this post.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Tips For "Up-Branding"
1. Limiting distribution channels
2. Focusing on small indulgences (i.e. Starbucks targeting consumers looking for premium coffee products).
3. Play from your brands strengths
4. Leverage design
5. Give your brand a "green" label
Personally, I feel some of these ideas are great for "Up-branding," but marketers must be careful how they incorporate them into their marketing strategy. For example, the article at Ad Age mentions playing from your brands strengths. It uses Crest Vivid White. The author, Allen Adamson, says "Crest, for example, has always been associated with a beautiful, healthy smile. Its up-branded product, Crest Vivid White, builds on this well-known brand association by adding whiteness to the beautiful, healthy equation." However, it is important to make sure a brand does not become diluted.
Starbucks is a brand that is suffering from brand dilution. You can find more information about Starbucks' brand dilution at Brand Autopsy.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
I received some good feedback from Adam Morgan at Sprawlnbrawl and Zach Arnold at Fightopinion.com. Also, Cyphron who posts at UFCjunkie.com said "Marketrman, I think your blog is great. I’m actually studying a marketing class right now, so it’s nice to see the UFC and marketing concepts put together. However, why do you keep calling the UFC fighters as “wrestlers?” Please refer to them as fighters instead." [He's right, they're not wrestlers. I have much to learn]!
Unfortunately, I have received some very negative comments from one Dy-no-mite3000. He said "the blog sucks, a non fan trying to sound like he knows how to revolutionize the UFC, however he talks more about the IFL." He left some additional commentary under my post titled "Things IFL Should Do To Create More Buzz." Personally, I'm glad Dy-no-mite3000 commented on my blog. However, he needs to get his facts straight. I don't think he read any of my other posts, or else he would know that I talk a lot about UFC. He's right, I'm a "non-fan" commenting on UFC. But why is he upset over a "non-fan" talking about his sport? He should embrace "non-fans" who talk about MMA and teach them about it. I think having "non-fans" talking about MMA leagues is a fine as long as they are converted into "real-fans" eventually (i.e. sooner than later). I'm not upset with Dy-no-mite3000. He is obviously very passionate about his sport and that's a good thing. I'm not going to remove his comments because his views differ from mine. That is what blogging is about. People post things that others will criticize from time-to-time. However, I don't like it when other blogs remove comments that don't favor their opinions. That is not what blogging is supposed to be about.
I received some good feedback from other UFC fans regarding my data, so I tried to get the word out. I posted a few comments over at UFCJunkie.com. Yeah, I put my link in a few of the comments I left. I got some positive feedback (See Cyphron's comments above) from those who understand marketing. I received some negative feedback. However, I'm really peeved that the moderator removed the majority of my messages (I'm ok with the fact that the moderator removed my comments with links to my site, but the rest of them? Come on!). I called a few of the people out on that blog who were against me because I'm a "non-fan" according to them. Removing comments goes against everything blogging is about. True bloggers embrace criticism and use it to make their blogs better. Personally, UFCJunkie.com isn't doing their part to help MMA leagues grow. They are simply going chase to every "non-fan" away with their close mindedness. True bloggers look at all available data before taking a side. Good luck growing a fan base without current "non-fans!" Also, UFCJunkie.com seems to feel information on my blog isn't good enough for them. I'm sorry to hear that. However, I don't think they are going to find as much in-depth analysis regarding online buzz of UFC and other MMA leagues anywhere else right now. They should let me know otherwise if they do.
Also, I don't understand how UFCJunkie can say "Please help spread word of our arrivial and encourage your friends to send us an "Add Friend" request. Luckily, we're not very picky about the company we keep, so delinquents and ill-breds are not only welcome, but eagerly anticipated" on its Myspace page, but remove my posts for being a "non-fan." This seems a bit hypocritical to me.
I'm not going to tell anyone where to go to get their MMA leagues fix. But there are better blogs than UFCJunkie.com. I know of two blogs that I will be visiting on a regular basis as I convert from a "non-fan" to a "true-fan" of MMA. Make sure to check out Adam Morgan over at Sprawlnbrawl and Zach Arnold at Fightopinion.com.
Friday, June 01, 2007
I've found out about an interesting "blog marketing" campaign carried out by
OgilvyOne Athens decided to think "Web 2.0" and find a way to invite consumers to do most of the talking and promoting. So Greek bloggers were invited to test-drive the car for a week if they would post their findings on their respective blogs, which would also be collected into a central blog, at http://www.aurisblog.gr. At the same time, a banner campaign invited the general public to request a test-drive, which could also win them a 4-star hotel weekend in Greece with of course the Auris at their disposal.
The Auris Blog campaign lasted for 10 weeks. There were 85 requests from Greek Bloggers and the car was given to 15 of them after a careful selection process. 55 different posts were written, most of them including photos and videos. (A digital camera was given as a gift to the bloggers in order to get multimedia content from them). There were 175 comments to the posts.
The Auris Blog had more than 52.000 visits by 41.000 unique visitors and the overall response rate of the banner campaign was at 4.75%. More importantly, 2.000 test-drive requests were submitted from this campaign, accounting for 50% of the total test-drive requests received through all channels (phone, in-store, events or promotions).
1. IFL should shift toward becoming a hybrid league (i.e. one that has both teams and individual fighters). The team concept is one of the key differentiators between IFL and other MMA leagues. I'm not saying to get away from that. However, it should look to develop individual fighters. It can do this by continuing to sign and develop talented fighters on its own or merge with another MMA league (i.e. UFC).
2. IFL could look into creating a reality TV show. Individuals could fight one another on the show and the winner could go on to sign with one of its teams. IFL could even take a similar approach to that of American Idol or Dancing with the Stars where fans vote on who they like. Increasing fan participating is a way help increase buzz.
3. IFL can offer fans the chance to vote for matches they would like to see online. This would help ensure that key matches get good ratings since IFL fans will choose which teams they want to see fight.
4. Each IFL team should create and update a blog periodically. They should use the blog to update and interact with fans by responding to questions and comments. Myspace Pages don't count.
5. IFL members (i.e. IFL president, fighters, marketing department, etc...) should engage with MMA fans online. They should sponsor and participate in online discussion forums which relate to MMA.
6. IFL could offer free tickets to bloggers and consumers posting online in an effort to get them to talk more about its events.
Feel free to leave more ideas if you have them. This is only the tip of the iceberg.
UFC receives more buzz do to the popularity of its individual fighters (i.e. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture). Consumers frequently discuss competitive matches. Negative discussion toward UFC comes from fans who are upset over their favorite fighter losing. It is important to note negative discussion indirectly affects UFC. Negative discussion shows that its fans are very passionate about the sport. Consumers are not complaining about the quality of UFC's matches or image issues, such as within Major League Baseball (MLB) discussion (i.e. Josh Hancock's death).
IFL (International Fight League) receives the second most buzz and for different reasons. Consumers talking about UFC primarily mention its wrestlers. It's popularity is based on individualism. On the other hand, consumers mentioning the IFL discuss the team concept.
This picture shows some of the leading terms associated with UFC discussion. As you a can see, UFC's wrestlers are brought up quite a bit within its discussion.
In contrast, IFL discussion is concentrated around the team concept.
The trend line below depicts some of the key issues driving online buzz among within MMA discussion. UFC clearly receives the most buzz, which is caused by consumers discussing key matches and wrestlers.
Top Sites For MMA Discussion:
3. www.ls2.com (Do General Motors (GM) enthusiasts like UFC?) I know UFC doesn't have a big sponsor yet. I see a sponsorship / marketing opportunity here! Note to GM - GM enthusiasts like MMA.
13. forums.corvetteforum.com (Another GM site!)
UFC clearly dominates MMA fighting discussion right now. However, I do feel there is room for some of the other leagues to grow. I like the fact the IFL focuses on the team concept; however, they may benefit by merging with one or more of the smaller MMA leagues. They could create a hybrid league where some fighters are members of teams, while others wrestle on their own. This will allow IFL to keep its identity, yet make itself comparable to UFC. And IFL should keep its identity. Focusing on the team concept is a great way to differentiate itself from UFC.