What Advertising Should Be About!

I always revel when I find a new blog from someone who understands the impact of marketing measurement. That’s the case with the Marketing Geek Blog from Michael Fassnacht. I came across this blog through my Google alerts and I wholeheartedly agree that advertising and marketing is about growth. If you cannot calculate a direct correlation between your marketing and a measurable ROI, then it’s time to retrench and start over.

As Michael points out, change is the air and I’m all for it. Read and enjoy!

Grant A. Johnson 

Johnson Direct LLC 


Direct Marketing ROI Projected for 2008

To see the way the Direct Marketing Association is projecting things, we all ought to get into e-mail marketing as our primary method of communicating … fast!  I’m not so sure that’s really true, but the DMA did put out some interesting projections, recently, as reported in the Oct. 18 edition of PROMO Magazine.

In that report, the DMA projects return on investment for commercial e-mail to more than double the ROI of other direct marketing tactics in 2008.  The DMA states that for each dollar spent, commercial e-mail will return $47.65, with non-e-mail online marketing a distant second at $20.19.

Others on the list of select direct marketing tactics are:

  • Direct response newspaper ads, $16.86
  • Non-catalog direct mail, $15.60
  •  Telemarketing, $8.61

Pretty impressive.

Then, again, we need to cast a somewhat jaundiced eye at the report, given its origins.  Let’s face it; DMA has a vested interest in marketers jumping on the DM bandwagon.  At the same time, smart marketers realize that direct marketing’s dominant position in advertising spends is due to the simple fact that it works!

I think measurable marketers overall do a better job than branders in understanding relevancy from the target market (s) perspective and, in this day of over-communication, that approach resonates with busy people.

So, I put it out here for your review and discussion.  Where do you stand?  Please give me your thoughts.

Grant Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC


Super Bowl Ads Near Sell-out … WHY?????

Advertising Age reports that close to 90% of advertising time for the next Super Bowl is already sold. To the marketing folks at companies on whose behalf this time has been purchased, I have a question:

Did you buy anything as a result of the Super Bowl ads last year?

In fact, here’s another question for you:

Do you remember most of the Super Bowl ads from a year ago?

If you’re spending money, huge money, on advertising during the next Super Bowl, you better be able to answer a resounding “Yes” to both questions.

It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I am not a fan of “killer” creative, which seems to dominate Super Bowl advertising. Nor do I agree with those who try to convince us that “buzz” is a desirable result of advertising. “Biz” is a measurable result, and buzz without biz is just noise.

Successful advertising is about relevancy. It’s about selling your product. It’s not about some schmo standing at the water cooler on Monday morning saying “Hey, Dude … did you watch the ads on the Super Bowl yesterday?”

I have no problem with those who want to buy Super Bowl ad time. It’s their money. I have a distinct problem with those “creative” types who guide their clients down the wrong path. Creative awards simply don’t equal money in the client’s pocket. Just look at Crispin Porter & Bokusky, known to some as “the hottest” advertising agency in the country. After all, look at what their “killer” creative accomplished for Miller Lite (“Man Laws”) or ConAgra (“Deadenbacher”). Buzz? Maybe. But money losers. And accounts lost for CP&B.

We, as marketers, can’t get caught up in all the hype about the Super Bowl ads. We have an obligation to our clients to do everything we can to show them how to create advertising that works. It may be your client’s money, but if you drop $2 million to $3 million of their cash and don’t generate big business, the consequences could – and should – be grave.

Grant Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC


Something New, Something Old … Something Successful!

Get ready. This hasn’t happened since 1993, but according to Advertising Age, it’s about to be resurrected.

“It” is the Sears holiday “Wish Book” catalog, appearing soon in a mail box outside your home. And it won’t just be Sears sending catalogs this year, of course.

How can this be, you ask? Aren’t catalogs too expensive and old-fashioned? Only if you fall victim to the misguided thinking that the new media is a death blow for tried and true marketing techniques. Unlike the day “Video Killed the Radio Star” introduced MTV and music videos, catalogs today have too much going for them to succumb to a stake through the heart from overly enthusiastic “new media” denizens.

Why? Because catalogs offer great targetability and a less intrusive approach which, along with their testability and ease of using unique URLs, make them the perfect partner to the new media.

Catalogs can make the experience of online shopping easier and more comfortable for users. Almost any on-line shopping site is easy to use IF you know exactly what you’re looking for. Catalogs are effective in driving buyers to websites already armed with the knowledge they need to quickly find – and buy – what they want.

I’ve always stressed the importance of measurability in any kind of marketing. A catalog combined with a unique URL is an incredibly easy tool to measure.

Old-fashioned? Success never goes out of style.

Grant Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC


Like Sand Through the Hour Glass …

… so are the days of our marketing lives!

I recently blogged about the upstart virtual worlds like Second Life and their potential use in advertising campaigns. Well, just like that, along comes a Wall Street Journal article about how Second Life has fallen on hard times as experimenting marketers have delayed, cut back, or just plain abandoned their involvement with the virtual world.

Not all feel that the virtual world craze is going south, however, pointing to the continuing growth of other, newer virtual reality sites. There are at least a dozen other virtual worlds out there in cyber space, and marketers are watching closely to see who is going where. The sudden explosion of these homes for one’s alter-ego has marketers struggling to keep pace with lightning fast changes in consumer preferences.

What’s happening to Second Life? Some theorize that it’s due to the need to use special software to create that alter-ego. Others feel it’s because Second Life fails to provide enough to do to keep a “resident’s” interest.

On the other hand, word comes that Microsoft has invested $240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook for the exclusive right to sell advertising that is targeted to the social network’s denizens. Microsoft beat out Google for this apparently highly desirable right. Astoundingly, the deal values Facebook at $15 billion (with a “b”)!

Where is it all going to end? No idea. The only thing we can know for sure is that no matter what you call it … new media, web 2.0, or even web 3.0, the internet is a tremendously exciting place to experiment. But whatever you happen to call it, it is our responsibility not to thrust it upon our clients just because it’s new, but to test constantly to see if the opportunities of the web are relevant to the targeted goals we hope to achieve.

Grant Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC