Mediapost Article: More 2014 Advertising Predictions

January 1, 2014

More 2014 Advertising Predictions: More Top Funnel Programmatic, Mobile Integration, Privacy Power, TV to Video

Here’s yet more 2014 advertising predictions, this time from Eric Bosco, CEO of Choicestream via Mediapost. Trend highlights:

  • More top of funnel programmatic ad buying
  • Increased integration of mobile
  • The rise of data privacy issues and emerging solutions
  • Video neutral planning and buying as TV and Video blur

I agree with all of these and think that the first one is particularly interesting, with much to learn about how creative, media weight, programming and site content impact top and bottom of funnel metrics differently.

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In-Store as Advertising: A Fresh Look

September 13, 2010

In-store communications, long the backwater of advertising, is getting a fresh look. Increasingly, Marketers are realizing that the in-store environment is a critical marketing communications touchpoint, and one that they need to get right to succeed. 

Leveraging the Store as Advertising

In-Store Communications — Why It’s Important

The in-store environment has always been important. For most categories, research has consistently shown that the majority of purchase decisions are made at the shelf. This isn’t changing anytime soon. 

In addition, the advent of in-store apps (see “Digitizing the 1st Moment of Truth”) are adding to the urgency for brands to become much more strategic about how they communicate with consumers in-store. Why? Consumers now have the ability to access product information, ratings and their social networks opinions about brands—right at the point of sale. 

Finally, if this weren’t enough, retailers are becoming much more sophisticated in their use of video networks and other in-store communication vehicles, and non store brands are at risk of falling behind. For example, many retailers routinely measure in-store video impact by location, category, time of day, etc. And much of this advertising is for their store brands—or said differently, your competitor. 

In-Store Video Networks: Increasingly Important

Traditional In-Store Drivers – Features, Displays & Pricing

One major reason for Marketers historical lack of attention to in-store communications was their focus on in-store “fundamentals.” For 25+ years, companies have used scanner data to measure the impact of features, displays and pricing on their volume and share. And, in many categories, the impact of these factors is huge. So large, that the role of in-store communications has been largely drowned out. 

Another reason for the lack of focus on in-store communications is that CPG companies took a very simplistic view of the “path to purchase” — e.g. there was none—or almost none. Conventional wisdom said this:  get your basic equity advertising and in-store conditions right, and volume and share would follow. Increasingly, however, CPG Marketers are realizing that the in-store message is important—and also different from their equity message. 

Finally, another factor in the inattention to in-store communications is lack of measurement. As a brand manager, I measured the impact of all kinds of in-store conditions—but communicating my message? Forget it. Marketers didn’t focus on in-store communications, in part, because there were no viable tools to measure and track it over time. 

What’s Different About In-Store Communications

It’s important at this point to note the obvious:  in-store communication is very different from other advertising mediums like TV, Print and the Web. How? 

In-Store Communication

  • In-store communications are not linear.  Unlike TV, for example, where you are (usually) tuned to a single channel and see ads sequentially, the in-store experience is non-linear. Hundreds, if not thousands, of brands compete for your attention–all at the same time. Think break-thru is tough in TV? Think about in-store.

  • In-store communications cut across multiple mediums.  It’s possible for a single brand to communicate via 3, 4 or more different mediums in store—e.g. packaging, in-store video, displays, etc.  — and all can be used to communicate the same message to the same consumer on the same shopping trip.
  • In-store communications are not usually about equity messaging.  Marketers are focused on building brands, and communicating the key owenership equities for their brand. But many brands have learned that equity messaging is not the most appropriate message on the last stop in the path to purchase.

So, the in-store communications challenge is very different from other communication touch-points. 

What’s Needed For Effective In-Store Communications

What's Needed for Effective In-Store Communications

  1. Message Strategy — Marketers need to define the in-store messaging that maximizes purchase. This sounds so simple, yet in my experience, the vast majority of Marketers do virtually no research on the path to purchase and what in-store messaging motivates purchase.
  2. Message Qualification — Even if they have the right strategic message defined, Marketers need to qualify in-store messaging, and not just assume they have the right execution. What’s the in-store equivalent to copy testing? Most organizations don’t have one.
  3. In-Store Media Mix – As noted earlier, the in-store environment offers a multitude of media touch points. Which ones are most effective for your brand? Which combinations of touch points work best? And, do they play different roles in stopping, engaging and activating consumers?
  4. Campaign Integration – Even if the messaging in-store is different from your overall equity messaging, it’s still important to connect your messaging to your core equities and “pay rent” to the parent equity message.
  5. On-Going Assessment – Once in-market, tracking messaging effectiveness is key. There’s a big gap in the market today for doing so. Marketers need to work with measurement partners to measure performance in market to be sure that their messaging is working as intended.

CMO’s and their Marketing teams need to think of the store as a Marketing communication touch point–and one that’s becoming increasingly important. Optimizing and integrating this  touch point into the overall Marketing programs is an important opportunity that more brands should capitalize on. 

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Put Social Context Where It Matters Most – Next to Your Advertising

May 10, 2010

I was in Bangalore, India last week, and it seemed that cell phones were everywhere.  Increased cell phone penetration — now estimated at over 500 million — and the ability to access the web cheaply and from anywhere, is driving rapid change.  In fact, a headline in The Economic Times read:  

“TWEET EQUITY:   Consumers are exchanging notes online, even posting complaints on the CEO’s Twitter page, leaving companies with no choice but to rethink strategies in a world where consumer behaviour is being driven by online exposure.” 

Buzz Builds the Social Media Ecosystem

The social media phenomenon is global, there’s no doubt about it. “Earned” media (e.g. user generated reviews, blogs, organic search, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, etc.) continues to increase in importance, no matter where brands reside.  And as I’ve written about before, traditional “Paid” media (e.g. traditional TV, Print, paid search, etc.) is still viable.

So the bigger challenge for Marketers today is how to integrate the two into one larger Marketing communications interlocked plan. To do so, Marketers need a much better understanding of how they influence each other.

Questions About Earned Media

I talk to leading CMO’s, Media Heads, and Heads of Research and Insights at major CPG companies on a frequent basis. Virtually all of them believe that earned media is growing in importance, and probably impacts other paid elements of their Marketing mix, but few have the research to really know for sure.  

Questions I routinely hear include:  

• What’s the real value of a Facebook fan?  

• Do positive blog posts make my advertising more effective?  

• Does advertising drive more positive buzz?  

These are great questions, but unfortunately, they’re mostly just that–questions without answers. This is changing, however, as new research sheds light on how social media affects traditional paid advertising.  

Facebook Fans: Build Value through Social Media

Measuring the Impact on Paid Advertising

One recent example is the initiative by Nielsen and Facebook to study the impact of social context on ads placed on Facebook (Disclosure: I work at Nielsen).  

Nielsen and Facebook surveyed over 800,000 users, about 125 Facebook ad campaigns and 70 brand advertisers. Users were grouped into a control group (no ad exposure), a standard ad group (exposed to the ad only), and an Ad + Social Context group (exposed to the ad and the fact that their friends were fans of the brand–see below).  

The Value of Facebook Ad Impressions (image from Nielsen Wire)

Key Learnings – Where’s the Biggest Impact ?

The basic Ads on Facebook drove higher recall, awareness and purchase intent than the control group not exposed to ads. And, as you would expect, the ads with social context around the ads drove better results than the ad only group.

 

   

No Ad Control  

   

Ad on Facebook  

 Ad on Facebook with Social Context

 Index Context Ad vs. No Context Ad  

Ad Recall

100  

110  

116  

1.6x 

Awareness

100  

104  

108  

2.0x 

Purch. Intent

100  

102  

108  

4.0x 

What’s more interesting to me is this:  the results from having ads + social context improve as you move down the Marketing funnel from ad recall to purchase intent. That is, the ads with social context achieved 4x the purchase intent of the ads with no social context, while they recalled only 1.6x better. 

It seems that positive earned media, in this case knowing that “your friends are fans of the advertised brand,” makes more people notice your advertising, but has the greatest impact on the most important metric prior to purchase: Purchase Intent. It’s the power of an indirect recommendation from people you know. 

Putting the Learning Into Action

So, now we know that social context makes advertising more effective. The next obvious question is how brands can get more of it. And then CMO’s will have a new challenge: getting positive earned media where it matters most–next to their brands advertising.  

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The 5 Truths of TV Advertising Effectiveness

January 18, 2010

Question:  Is TV advertising less effective today than 15 years ago?

If you think you know the answer, read on. Digital and social media are having a transformational effect on Marketing content, organizations and processes. This being said, what’s often ignored is what we know about TV advertising effectiveness in the here and now. 

The 5 TV Advertising Truths

I recently wrote about “The 5 Myths of TV Viewership,” and this post forms a book-end with that earlier one. Like TV viewership, there are many myths about how and whether TV advertising actually works in the current environment. Here are the 5 most prevalent ones–some of which you might find surprising:
MYTH:   TV Advertising Takes a Long Time to Work
TRUTH #1:   Advertising Works Fast, When it Works

Part of the mythology of TV advertising is the “3+” frequency myth. That is, it takes a minimum of 3 repetitions of an ad for it to move a consumer down the purchase funnel. For CPG, this is simply not true. 

The advertising response curve is "convex"—the greatest marginal response is from the first exposures.

Numerous single source tests have demonstrated that when TV ads work, they work quickly to build sales (Rubinson, Journal of Advertising Research).  In fact, the TV ad effectiveness curve is generally convex—e.g. early airings have the most impact, and additional airings decrease in effectiveness (Taylor, Kennedy & Sharp: Journal of Advertising Research). When ads work, they tend to work quickly. 

MYTH:  When TV Ads Work, They Have Large Impact
TRUTH #2:  Ads Generate Small Impact Over Time

The question “What sales impact is my ad having?” has been studied rigorously since the advent of single source data (e.g. BehaviorScan or other panels which track the single variable impact of advertising on purchase behavior). On average, for the CPG categories studied, every $1 invested returns about $.10 (Taylor, Kennedy & Sharp Journal of Advertising Research). The sales return on an invested TV ad dollar has varied between .06 and .14 over the past 20 years (Hu, Lodish, Krieger & Hayati Journal of Advertising Research). And the sales lift is larger in year 2 than year 1. 

MYTH:  DVR’s are Killing Ads
TRUTH #3:  Ad Impact is Similar With or Without DVR’s

Yes, it’s hard to believe, but the evidence suggests that DVR homes have about the same recall of TV ads as non-DVR homes (du Plessis, Journal of Advertising Research). 

 

There’s likely a range of reasons for this phenomenon, including people with DVR’s watching higher engagement shows, DVR’s increasing total TV viewing time, etc. Interestingly, research shows that consumers have the same recall and understanding of your ad when fast forwarded as when viewed in a normal manner, if they have already seen it normally once (du Plessis, Journal of Advertising Research).   

MYTH:  Digital Ads are More Likable Than TV Ads
TRUTH #4:  TV Advertising is More Likable

People assume that because the web is a “lean-forward” medium, ads in this environment are naturally more engaging  and well liked. Research shows that this is not the case. On average, TV ads are liked better than digital ads (Moult & Smith, Journal of Advertising Research). Here I should also say that likability doesn’t necessarily translate to effectiveness. 

MYTH:  TV Ads are Declining in Effectiveness
TRUTH #5:  TV Ads are as Effective Today as 15 Years Ago

This is perhaps the biggest myth of all—that TV ads are losing effectiveness over time. Falling TV ratings and the rise of social media and mobile are hurting TV ad effectiveness, right? Wrong. The research on this topic, across time and geographies, strongly suggests this is not true. As noted earlier, advertising demand elasticities have fluctuated over the past 15 years, but are not declining (Rubinson, Journal of Advertising Research). So, TV advertising is as effective (or ineffective) as ever. 

Future of TV Advertising

So, if TV advertising is still effective, what’s the future of TV advertising? I’d suggest it will be in three areas: 

1. Cross Media – The rise of digital and social media has created numerous new means and forms to advertise and engage consumers. Research clearly shows that the impact of a TV ad is even higher when a consumer has been exposed to your brands ad on the web, and vice versa. Thus, CMO’s should focus on building cross media campaigns that continue to leverage TV as appropriate, but in new combinations with new social media and digital initiatives (for more on social media marketing, see “How the Future Social Web will Transform Marketing”). 

Social media has entered the traditional marketing ecosystem.

2. New TV Ad Forms – As TV evolves from network to networked TV, new advertising form factors are cropping up. iTV is already in place and many brands are experimenting with this new approach. Additionally, Shelly Palmer and others have proposed new ad forms such as speed bumps, telescoping ads, etc. which are being enabled by “networked” TV. Marketers need to keep an eye on these new ad forms and be ready to experiment, learn and adjust. 

3. Earned Media – There is vast opportunity for brands to understand how to use paid media to drive earned media. However, this is a nascent and poorly understood area that deserves much greater experimentation. Nonetheless, understanding how paid media drives earned, earned drives paid, and how they influence one another is fertile ground for future advertising model innovation. 

So, back to our original question: “Is TV advertising less effective than 15 years ago?” The answer is a clear “no,” just as you should answer the question “Shouldn’t we completely forget about TV advertising and just concentrate solely on new media?” 

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What CMO’s Can Learn From the Obama Campaign — Part 1

May 28, 2009

Can politics teach Marketers anything ?  David Plouffe, the architect of President Obama’s election campaign, recently spoke at the M50 CMO Summit I attended. Sitting at the intersection of Marketing and politics, Plouffe had some interesting thoughts about the Presidential campaign that are highly relevant for Marketers.

Much has already been written about the Obama campaigns innovative usage of social media, and what business can learn from it. It’s true that they led with new media (e.g. Twitter, MyBarackObama.com, etc.) and used the various tools to great advantage. But listening to Plouffe, it’s clear there are other important lessons as well.

Brand Obama: A Consistent Message Across Media Channels

Brand Obama: A Consistent Message Across Media Channels

Plouffe described the two pillars of Obama’s campaign as “message” and “strategy.” Message was what Obama stood for–his “brand,” including his policy positions on health care, the environment, economy, etc.  Strategy was about where to play and how to win choices–e.g. contest the swing states,  leverage the web, how and where to communicate the message, etc.

The Message

Plouffe talked at length about how Obama’s message was non-negotiable. Obama defined the message based on his beliefs and policy positions, and then it was communicated clearly and consistently throughout the entire campaign organization. Everyone in the campaign–from the candidate himself down to the ground-level volunteers knocking on doors, had the same basic understanding of the message and what Obama stood for. There was one and only one message.

The Media

The campaign “media” strategy was to be where the voters were. Every meaningful media channel was used if it could help communicate the message to target voters: community events, e-mail, door-to-door, candidate interviews, etc. And importantly, the message was coordinated across media channels on a daily basis. If the message of the day was about health care, everyone from top to bottom knew the daily health care message and exactly what they were supposed to communicate.

What Marketers Can Learn

The Obama campaign approach above illustrates good basic Marketing principles. Define your value proposition and communicate it effectively. For me, though, what really stands out about their plans are two things:

First, was their consistent and disciplined message communication. The Obama campaign had a clear message, and they stayed with it. They even had a key brand visual. No significant changes or deviations. McCain, by contrast, careened from message to message. The lesson: brand message consistency and focus are important. Decide what you want your brand to stand for and stick with it. Otherwise, you’ll stand for not much of anything. For more on this topic, the Branding Strategy Insider had an excellent recent post on the importance of brand consistency.

Second, the campaign drove the same message across multiple media on a daily basis.  This magnified and multiplied the impact of the message as it reverberated across the media channels. Voters heard the same message from multiple sources via different channels on a daily basis: Obama’s speech, a David Axelrod interview, a voter registration effort, TV ads–they all carried the same message at the same time.

The Obama campaign was a model of strategic focus and message management coordination. Marketers could learn from the campaign by sticking with a focused brand message and leveraging the message throughout their marketing mix.


Venn Marketing — Why 1+1+1 Doesn’t Equal 3

May 5, 2009

When does 1+1+1 not equal 3 in Marketing ? When is it really possible to get something extra for nothing ? CMO’s are under more pressure than ever to deliver results, and are cutting budgets right and left during the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression.  What’s a CMO to do ? For one thing, ensure that you have integrated marketing initiatives. Integrated as opposed to individual unrelated and uncoordinated marketing initiatives. We’ve all heard the overused “synergy” term one times too many, but this really is one time in Marketing where the evidence supports that the total is more than the sum of the parts.  Yet, as noted in this posting from The Marketing Fray, there still seems to be debate about the merits of this concept.

Academic research and my own real world experience demonstrate that an integrated set of marketing activities are more effective than the sum total of the same activities executed individually. Integrated means that consumers are seeing and hearing the same marketing message in a coordinated way across different and distinct marketing touch points.  An example would be a consumer who sees TV advertising, is then exposed to a YouTube video, hears something about the brand from a friend, sees a paid search ad, and goes to the firms web site–all with the same brand message.

I like to visualize this phenomena, and its impact, as a Venn diagram–overlapping circles that look like this:

When 1+1+1 = More than 3 in Marketing

When 1+1+1 = More than 3 in Marketing

So, why is integrated marketing more effective ? Isn’t this just black magic or voodoo marketing ? Here’s why it works. Communicating your brand’s benefit is central to convincing consumers to buy your brand in preference to competitors. Communicating it across multiple marketing contact points increases impact–the message is reinforced in multiple ways and not just from the same medium. It’s as if everywhere you turn, you’re hearing the same benefit message. Think it might deepen a consumers understanding of your brand’s value proposition ?

Outside of CPG, where marketing functions are often spread across the organization and operate independent of one another, this is a huge opportunity.  Typically, marketing functions do their own planning without a coordinated approach to having a single, integrated marketing plan. Too often, each Marketing department is like an orchestra, with its own conductor and sheet music, resulting in a cacophony of marketing activities. What’s needed is an integrated set of marketing activities that are mutually supportive and reinforce a consistent message across marketing touch points . One conductor, one sheet of music, one symphony — and better results.

So what’s needed for integrated marketing to work ?

  • Benefit/Brand Message — A foundational requirement is complete clarity around the brand benefit and value proposition, and a common understanding across departments of the brand positioning.
  • Initiative Integration — Marketing activities need to be grouped or clustered around key events or ideas, each with a single minded objective. All of the Marketing departments need to contribute to each marketing event in a coordinated manner.
  • Planning Process — Intention is great, but a disciplined marketing planning process is an necessary enabler of integrated plans. Clear roles and responsibilities are imperative, and there can only be a single owner of the marketing plan.

Delivering truly integrated marketing initiatives isn’t easy. It takes leadership from the CMO. The path of least resistance is always for each group to do it’s own thing–which is also much less effective. Which is why we need more Venn Marketing — where 1+1+1 equals more than 3.