More Social Media Options, A Good Thing?

A recent Ad Age article caught my attention and points to the continued trend toward Social Media and experimentation to see what will resonate with folks and what will not.

Most Social Media outlets are more communication focused — while Bebo, the newly updated “player” will be more entertainment oriented and thus more like a magazine.

With Social Media, like most media outlets, you can expect others to jump on the proverbial band wagon and try new things to improve on the success of YouTube, Facebook and others.

You will hear this from me again and again, but I truly believe that this is a GREAT time to be a marketer, especially a measurable marketer with the rapid change taking place in marketing and the shift of control to the consumer/prospect/customer.

At some point we will reach saturation as we are all over-communicated to already, but nonetheless it’s exciting to see things unfold.
Grant A. Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC


AD Spending Falls Again. Is that a Good Thing?

It’s all relative.

One of the reasons may be a recent internet posting I read that stated that niches are irrelevant. It made me laugh. By not understanding that understanding your segments (niches) is vital, you make your advertising irrelevant and thus it becomes less effective and people don’t buy what you are selling.

Thus, a lesson in knowing that relevancy today is THE key metric that makes people want to buy what you have to sell.

Stated concisely: talk to me like you understand me and I am much more likely to respond to your advertising and buy your products/services.

Some advertising “professionals” simply don’t get it. Advertising and marketing today is a bottom-line, P&L function with C-level attention, not an “expense” that must be incurred.

United States advertising spending has fallen for the second quarter in a row, which hasn’t happened since 2001. And that has some people acting as if the sky is falling.

But it’s actually a good thing.

Advertising spending in the US measures the dollars spent in traditional paid media … newspapers, magazines, television and radio. And while it is true that advertising has fallen in these areas, smart American companies are devoting more and more of their efforts to the “new” media … word of mouth, conversational marketing, and such new and exciting outlets as YouTube.

The Mobile Marketing Association says that by 2008 nearly 89% of brands will use text and multimedia messaging to reach their audiences. Nearly one-third are planning to spend more than 10% of their marketing budgets on advertising in the medium. Again, that’s just by 2008.

The baby boomer generation will grow by 25% in the next decade. As our population ages, it will become more multicultural and increasingly cynical toward traditional sales messages. Much like GEN Y.

If you don’t understand “social” media, now’s the time to start learning. Because consumers want product information, but not necessarily advertising. Perhaps the most important role any company can play now is to get out of the way and let that happen. Consider using word of mouth as media. It’s all about creating generations of conversation. Remember this thought … awareness + worth of mouth = results.

The natural order of things is changing in marketing and advertising. While it isn’t surprising that “traditional” media spending is down, online ad spending is up nearly 33%, according to 24/7 Real Media, Inc. That means that marketers need to understand digital media options and how to design for the “new” media.

Since we’re in a period of transition, it might be wise to consider integrating the “old” with the “new.” I’ve often recommended doing “split” direct mail, in which one audience receives one message about a product or service, and another receives a different one. Then we measure which message works best. Sometimes there’s no clear-cut winner.

In some cases, using both old and new media may be the best tack. Combining direct mail with a dedicated microsite, for instance, is a very workable and sensible way to integrate both offline and online media. Again, though, the message, however it’s communicated, must be relevant to the audience.

Automobile makers market to people of nearly all ages. Clearly, though, the top of the line, $50,000 luxury sedan is not intended for the recent college graduate. The same automaker, however, probably manufactures another vehicle that is desirable to the younger audience. You’re not often going to find both audiences reading the same magazines or watching the same television shows, so you might want to target the young audience through a viral marketing campaign and the more mature audience through magazines such as AARP. The intent is the same … to sell cars. The message will differ. Automakers are among those leading the way in moving dollars to customer relationship marketing and word of mouth.

Must every single potential page in the vast universe of the web try to sell you something? No, but if you’re not investing in the web as a direct response marketing tool, you’re missing the boat. Don’t think your kids are just communicating with each other when they’re online … they’re seeing and responding to the “new” advertising.

The winds of change aren’t just blowing. It’s getting downright gusty in here!

Grant Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC