A Daily Marketing Experience

February 15, 2010

Hey, that Brand is my Friend

Filed under: Marketing — Ricardo @ 9:39 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I was fortunate enough to hear Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg talk about Facebook and its use in Business Marketing. Even though the Keynote was very Online Marketing 101 (basic notions), it did point out some interesting facts from which it is possible to extrapolate some conclusions.

  1. To understand where technology is headed, it is indispensable to analyse what technologies and what mediums are teens using nowadays. In that sense, the trend seems to be (you guessed it): Text. Only 14% of teens use e-mail.
  2. Facebook has 400 million users and it has been translated into 70 languages. Interesting enough, the translation was made not by Facebook employees, but by users (French was translated in 24 hours) showing the growing importance of Online collaboration.
  3. Facebook has 100 million mobile users and it’s the most downloaded iPhone application. This is another example (as in the first point) of the importance of mobile.
  4. Facebook fastest growing demographic is 35 and over. Even though each segment uses the site in a different way, it shows that Online communities are not only for teens.
  5. In the UK, 50% of the time spent surfing is in Facebook  and 10 million people (worldwide) Fan a page each day. This figure shows that it is a must to leave the silo structure of a webpage and start interacting with your segment in other meaningful ways.
  6. The most important conclusion from this presentation and that applies to all social media sites, is that these types of technologies (social media) give a brand the alternative to have authentic two-way communication. It presents a way to transfer the inefficiency of word of mouth into a powerful “massive” reality. This is just a more precise example of point number 5. It is a must to step away from the Online Catalog structure and move into the real conversation model.
  7. And last but surely not least something that did not come from her speech; something that is starting to get attention amongst the industry experts: Project Titan. It looks like Facebook is going to enter the world of e-mail allowing POP and Imap. However, you could only receive e-mails from your friends, groups or fan pages. Your address would be your vanity url (Facebook short name) @facebook.com. If this change truly happens, e-mail campaigns will achieve a new meaning.

All in all, the opportunity is there for brands to embrace mobile and the easiness that such technology provides to be part of the “social” environment. The key will be highlighted in the effectiveness of companies to show its brand as an honest entity. A figure that listens, talks and intereacts to consumers in a human way. A company with soul. A company that I can easily call “my friend”.

November 3, 2009

Twitter Lists – let’s ride the trend

Filed under: Marketing — Ricardo @ 7:50 am
Tags: , ,

All right, so twitter lists are finally here. It was not long before every thought leader started to comment on how to use them and the benefits that they provide.

Hubspot’s blog gives a pretty good explanation and has various links to further understand this new feature.

I have made a Marketing list which anyone can follow and which I am expanding everyday.  To see it and follow it click here – My list

My take on them (twitter lists) is that in the near future, lists are going to be a good source of reference on someone’s influence. Perhaps is not how many followers you have but in how many lists you appear that will tell your level of appreciation. In other words, lists and their titles will give a clearer explanation on people’s perception about you and your area of influence.

At the end, is going to be good. It will give people feedback and will surely help manage postings in a more meaningful and organized manner.

So what great lists have you found?

October 30, 2009

Top 10 Integrated Marketing Trends

Filed under: Marketing — Ricardo @ 2:52 pm
Tags: , ,

This is a repost of an article published by Marketing Charts which states the top 10 trends to help integrated marketers navigate the choppy waters of 2010.

1- Less will get done until we learn to do more with less: While the year 2009 was marked by extreme economic turmoil, the marketing industry won’t feel its full effects until 2010. Right now, marketers and their agency partners are focused on simply “getting work out the door,” with  reduced headcounts and budgets. However, if they learn to align resources with more singular and powerful integrated marketing programs – at the perhaps necessary expense of  individual marketing tactics –  the breakthrough ideas and greater productivity will be the norm again.

2- Marketers will mistakenly ‘whack’ a medium of the marketing mix: With reduced marketing budgets, Franks said, “something has to give.”  Unfortunately, marketers are making wholesale cuts to specific marketing/media channels in the process. Though the most dramatic cuts have occurred this year in newspapers and magazines, she cautions marketers to carefully consider if other media in the marketing mix can really compensate for these cuts, especially in terms of the consumer behavior.  Though Franks believes that reduced resources should not affect a well-crafted, integrated, multi-channel mix, she does expect that such blunders may occur in 2010.

3- Marketers rush to employ ’social networking’ strategies: Marketers are in what Franks calls “a mad rush” to enter the social networking space with ‘tweets’, ‘widgets’, ‘apps’ and ‘fan pages’. However, she asserts that social networking is not, in itself, a marketing tactic; nor is it a surrogate for a brand’s social experience or a line item on a marketing plan, a specific channel, or a form of content. In Franks’s view, social media is an outcome, and no single channel has a lock on the ’social’ nature of content. Rather than scrambling for social media programs, Franks cautions marketers to step back and realize that “most any medium can serve as the ‘originating’ medium in a journey that can take a great piece of content across channels and into vast networks of hearts and minds.”

4- More data but even less ‘understanding’: Web analytics are making online campaigns easier to measure, while more studies are emerging from more sources – including media measurement companies, foundations, academics, marketers and the media themselves. While all this data clearly point to a highly fluid, highly interactive and mercurial media landscape, these data sets are – at the same time – less projective when the media world changes so quickly. So, while marketers may have a better understanding of what happened last week, last month or yesterday, they cannot take this understanding too far into the future. In this respect, Franks likens today’s environment to  a “Wild West” era of integrated channel planning.

5- Lines between media will continue to blur: In the coming year, more prime-time TV content will show up in more places than ever before. Fans will have multiple access points into shows that used to be an ‘appointment view’ controlled by network programming executives. Such models as live view, live+3 day views from a DVR, video on demand, Hulu, network owned websites, and shared distribution deals (ala DirecTV and NBC for Friday Night Lights) it is no longer clear as to where one screen medium ends and another begins. Marketers will do best to understand that “it’s all a screen,” and plan accordingly, Franks said.

6- Push vs. pull will become less relevant: In 2010, the classification of marketing experiences into ‘push’ vs. ‘pull’ will become less relevant because the best content (both programming and commercial content) will increasingly become ‘push’ and ‘pull’ at the same time. For example,  American Idol is both a ‘push’ medium because it’s broadcast during primetime on Fox, and a ‘pull’ medium because of the plethora of votes, downloads, and chats which result from the broadcast.  The reverse is also true. Given the vast reach of social networks, a viral experience that is pulled along by a small group of fans will quickly amass reach without too much effort on the part of the original sender.

7- Great content will travel at the ’speed of share’  while ‘average’ experiences will evaporate: In 2010, marketers will continue to wrestle with a sense of time because messages can travel at ‘the speed of share’ which renders the speed of traditional content distribution obsolete. With the click of a mouse, or a mobile phone, consumers can advance a great story/ad/video/picture/newsbite to vast, ‘networked’ communities of hearts and minds. However, content will only travel at the ’speed of share’ if it is worth sharing in the first place. There now is much lower tolerance for mediocre content, and consumers in 2010 will have even more means of disposing of, and/or avoiding it.

8- The adult 18-49 demo will become even less relevant as a target cohort: Though the diversity within the 18-49 adult demographic isn’t new, the dramatic differences in media use and consumption for an 18 year-old relative to a 49 year-old are becoming increasingly pronounced.  The great divide between internet-raised and television-raised consumers may indeed become big enough in 2010 for integrated marketers to finally realize that this broad and unrealistic target cohort doesn’t hold up.

9- Symbiosis will create interesting and – at times strange – partnerships: Though many forecasters are predicting wholesale collapses in media channels, Franks believes that the media and marketing landscape will be affected more by the laws of symbiosis than the laws of natural selection. As an example, the relationship between YouTube and TV – which at first appeared on the surface as a competing interest – continues to evolve into a symbiotic relationship. These emerging relationships will continue to develop among what appear on the surface as competing media channels.

10- 2010 will become the year of the good idea:  The recent past suggests that integrated marketing, as an industry, has become hyper- focused on the dynamics of channels to such an extreme that it has taken its eye off the ball. However, when a collective realization is made that marketing channels serve only as pipelines for content and that only great content can be both ‘pushed’ and ‘pulled’ along at the new ‘ speed of share’, the good ideas will begin to flow again. Without a good idea, the content will simply evaporate.

Link to the article.

October 29, 2009

Social Media: its role in Inbound Marketing

Filed under: Marketing — Ricardo @ 9:49 am
Tags: , ,

Finally Bing and Google announced that they have finalized agreements with Twitter to begin incorporating Tweets into their search engine results. Not only that, but Bing also will start incorporating Facebook Status Messages in its SERPs. According to PC Magazine “Only status updates that users have chosen to share publicly will be included in real-time search results. Microsoft has a stake in Facebook and an existing relationship, which might explain why Google is apparently not even trying to negotiate a similar arrangement.”

There is a beta version of this new social media search in Bing: bing.com/twitter

The important part of these announcements as a marketing professional is the, now more than ever, importance of social media as part of your overall inbound marketing strategy. Not only is it necessary to communicte with your customers and to promote content, but it has become yet another tool to generate traffic and leads.

It is hard to now how the search algorithm is going to be influenced by this new social media search, but what it is clear, is that in the near future being on top of the social media part of a company’s Online marketing strategy is going to be as decisive as the optimization of websites and the creation of content.

September 23, 2009

Social Media in GM

Filed under: Marketing — Ricardo @ 1:18 pm
Tags: , ,

A very interesting video posted by David Meerman Scott interviewing Fritz Henderson, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Motors talking about the role of social media in the process of selling cars.

Please see the video here and David’s blog here.

September 11, 2009

Es El Mercadeo en Internet un Mito? (written in Spanish)

This was an article I wrote for the Magazine of Aires (a colombian airline) about the myths of Internet Marketing.

For the article in PDF format please follow this link: http://www.revistaconexion.net/AGOSTO/NEGOCIOS.pdf

—————-

¿Es el Mercadeo en Internet un Mito?

El mercadeo en Internet es una realidad que todas las marcas deben aprovechar, pero que en Colombia avanza lentamente. La principal causa de esta lenta utilización está enmarcada en el poco conocimiento que se tiene de esta gran oportunidad y en el equivocado uso que se le da en las escasas circunstancias donde se emplea.

El principal error que se comete cuando se habla de Internet en ambientes de mercadeo, comunicación y/o publicidad, es verlo como un medio. Internet no es un medio, es una plataforma. Así como el espectro electromagnético es la plataforma para que las señales de radio y televisión puedan transmitirse, así como el papel es la plataforma para que los medios impresos puedan existir, Internet es una plataforma en donde todos los medios pueden desarrollarse, ya sea manera simultánea o individual. En otras palabras, a través de la red se puede ver televisión (medio), oír radio (medio), leer prensa y revistas (medio), y ver publicidad visual (medio). Esta concepción de Internet como algo más que un medio permite tener un universo paralelo, un mundo virtual similar al tradicional, donde es posible planear y ejecutar las mismas estrategias que en el mundo físico, pero de una manera digital.

Así pues, esta plataforma permite generar campañas de branding, respuesta directa y punto de venta. Internet integra el mundo ATL y el BTL en uno. La categorización de Internet como medio limita de manera extrema la utilización que se le puede dar. La noción de verlo únicamente como una herramienta de comunicación que compite con los demás medios tradicionales, deja, de principio, descalificada la opción de hacer uso de todas sus virtudes para mercadear productos y posicionar marcas. Adicionalmente, si a esto le sumamos la gran cantidad de mitos existentes en el área de mercadeo de las empresas sobre la utilización de Internet en una estrategia general, es apenas obvio que en Colombia su uso sea precario.

La siguiente lista enumera y rectifica apenas algunos de los errores de concepción más frecuentes en la utilización de Internet en una campaña de mercadeo. La lista es aún mayor y pude tornarse aún más técnica; sin embargo, en aras de clarificar conceptos y lograr evangelizar las premisas de los “marketers” colombianos, discutiré aquéllos que mayor aplicabilidad tienen a nuestro entorno actual.

El primer error o mito es: “Yo si tengo estrategia digital, tengo una página web”.

Constantemente he oído esta mala concepción sobre lo que debe ser una campaña digital. Tener un website es simplemente la tarjeta de presentación de la compañía en la red. Es claro que tener este site es el pilar y el fundamento donde lo demás se desprenderá. Sin una página web una estrategia de mercadeo digital no tendría sentido. Sin embargo, una estrategia correcta requiere que el website esté optimizado, contenga diferentes micro-sites y que se mantenga constantemente alineado con los demás elementos del ámbito digital aplicados a la campaña en ejecución.

Consecuente con la anterior explicación, el siguiente error es: “Una campaña digital es poner banners en diferentes páginas”.

Los banners hacen parte de la estrategia general y cumplen una función de comunicación clara dentro de un proceso de creación y sostenimiento de marca. Sin embargo, no se puede fundamentar toda una iniciativa en esta táctica.

Hoy en día es cada vez más común oír la moda sobre grupos o redes sociales, lo cual nos lleva al siguiente mito: “Crear un grupo en Facebook es tener una estrategia en redes sociales”.

Este mito es parecido al anterior.Facebook es sólo una de las diferentes opciones que existen de red social. Crear un grupo puede o no hacer parte de la táctica a seguir en la incorporación de redes sociales en la estrategia general. Inclusive, las redes sociales sirven como un ecosistema único donde se pueden desarrollar diferentes iniciativas que incluyen aspectos de la campaña global como ejecuciones muy puntuales.

La llegada de los correos electrónicos al mundo corporativo ha sido uno de los mayores adelantos en términos de comunicación y agilidad. Aún más, su aplicabilidad en mercadeo es excepcional. Sin embargo, el mito aparece: “Enviar correos electrónicos masivos es la solución”.

El envío de correos electrónicos masivos puede ser una táctica muy eficiente. Sin embargo, no es la solución total. Debe estar moderada por la estrategia general y configurados para que interactúen con los demás elementos de la campaña; además, no deben ser intrusivos. De igual forma, el envío de correos masivos sin una herramienta de CRM (Customer Relationship Management) que logre discernir aquellos filones presentes, disminuye notablemente su efectividad.

El hecho de que sea la nueva generación aquélla que más cercana se sienta a los cambios digitales ha llevado a la percepción del siguiente mito: “Las estrategias digitales sólo le llegan a jóvenes y niños”.

Esto es falso. Hay estudios recientes que demuestran que es cada vez mayor el uso de Internet y de aparatos digitales por parte de personas mayores a 40 años. Las investigaciones de mercado han logrado segmentar muy claramente el tipo de uso de internet, la frecuencia y los lugares según edad, género, estrato social, entre otros. Así, como en cualquier otro entorno, es preciso determinar el método apropiado para llegarle al segmento deseado.

Una de las principales barreras que existe en Colombia para prevenir el uso de Internet es que “tiene muy poca penetración”.

Este es un tema relativo y depende de qué público objetivo se quiera capturar y contra qué se esté comparando. A nivel nacional, la penetración está alrededor del 23% según cifras de la Comisión de Regulación de Telecomunicaciones (CRT), pero dependiendo del nivel socioeconómico, edad, región y género está cifra puede incrementar.

A diferencia del mundo “real” donde existen legislaciones, reglamentaciones y códigos de autorregulación, en “el mundo digital no hay reglas”.

Este es un planteamiento falso. A través del desarrollo del mundo digital se han establecido reglas formales e informales de participación, interacción y creación. Para que una campaña sea exitosa se debe considerar qué medios están usando y sus reglas.

Lo mejor que puedo hacer es: “pasar lo que he hecho en el mundo offline al online”.

Éste es uno de los principales errores que se comete cuando se empieza a hacer uso de las estrategias digitales. Internet es un mundo diferente, paralelo, que requiere sus propias implementaciones. Simplemente copiar lo hecho en el ámbito tradicional y pasarlo a un formato digital, es una catástrofe. Por ejemplo, estrategias de precio y/o distribución no pueden ser iguales al mundo tradicional. El acceso a mayor información y mayor cantidad de opciones crea una variable que el mundo offline no incorpora. De igual forma, la comunicación debe ser diferente. Copies publicitarios tienen que adaptarse al tipo de lector y al lugar de publicación.

Con base en lo anterior, se desprende el siguiente mito: “Las campañas digitales reemplazarán las de mercadeo tradicional”.

Aunque soy un predicador de la importancia del mundo digital en el entorno actual, es imposible desconocer la relevancia del mercadeo tradicional. La mejor estrategia es una estrategia completa, una que integre lo mejor de los dos mundos. Estos universos no son mutuamente excluyentes, y es posible ejecutar con gran efectividad estrategias simultaneas y alineadas.

Mi mito favorito es: “En una campaña digital no se puede medir el retorno sobre la inversión”. Como persona de mercadeo uno de los principales retos es poder medir el retorno sobre la inversión de cualquier iniciativa. No existe mejor forma de hacerlo que a través de Internet. Existen herramientas que correctamente atadas a la estrategia y bajo la interpretación adecuada, identifican claramente la efectividad de la campaña en términos monetarios y de imagen. No sólo se puede medir exactamente y sin dudas, sino que los resultados están generados en tiempo real. Esto permite que se conciban informes continuos y que se logre rectificar el rumbo de una campaña, implementación o estrategia de manera proactiva y a tiempo.

Este mito es uno de aquéllos que mayor reflexión requiere: “Cualquier persona puede crear, programar y ejecutar una campaña digital”.

Una campaña digital exitosa requiere la integración de diferentes conceptos: mercadeo, estrategia, entendimiento técnico y experiencia. Hoy día existen muchas personas y empresas que dicen tener la capacidad de ejecutar una campaña; sin embargo, esto va más allá de poner un banner, crear un blog o abrir un grupo. Para que se pueda hacer uso de esta magnifica alternativa, además tiene que existir una relación muy estrecha entre marca / agencia creativa / central de medios. Y es aquí donde realmente las empresas colombianas deben hacer sus mayores esfuerzos.

Actualmente el tema de Internet como parte de una estrategia general de mercadeo es relegado a las agencias, y es labor de ellas “evangelizar” a sus clientes para que comprendan cómo funciona esta plataforma y para que logren entender los resultados generados. Así pues, la centralización del proyecto pierde su punto focal de marca y tiende a convertirse en una iniciativa marginal. Para solucionar lo anterior es necesario que el convencimiento, la creencia, tenga cimientos en marca, y que sus encargados tengan el conocimiento necesario, que sean expertos en Internet Marketing. Así como actualmente los gerentes de mercadeo, gerentes de marca y asistentes entienden y dominan el ámbito tradicional (según sus realidades empresariales), es pertinente que dentro de éstos departamentos exista al menos un líder que se esté a cargo de la parte de Internet. Con esto se logra crear un vínculo más cercano entre la marca y las agencias para así generar unas mejores implementaciones y mejores resultados.

Un gran ejemplo sobre cómo tener a alguien creyente y conocedor del mercadeo en Internet, está en la forma como Universal Studios lanzó su nuevo parque de diversiones “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” (esta información fue obtenida gracias a David Meerman Scott y su libro World Wide Rave). Cindy Gordon es la Vicepresidente de Mercadeo de Universal Resorts en Orlando (Florida), y estaba encargada de mercadear y lanzar este nuevo parque de diversiones. Después de varias reuniones acordaron que tendría presupuesto ilimitado y que podría hacer lo que ella quisiera para este lanzamiento de producto. Increíblemente y en contra de todas las predicciones, Cindy Gordon decidió hacer uso de Internet, y únicamente Internet, para el lanzamiento.

Para esto, decidió contactar privadamente a los siete bloggers de Harry Potter más importantes y citarlos a una video conferencia a las 12 de la noche. Después de contarles la historia, invitó a estas siete personas a que se reunieran con los diseñadores del parque para que les contarán todo sobre su implementación y sobre qué tendría este nuevo producto. Eso fue todo lo que hizo Cindy Gordon para lanzar el parque.

Así pues, los bloggers empezaron a escribir sobre este secreto y se estima que después de 24 horas de la video conferencia alrededor de 350 millones de personas fueron expuestas al nuevo concepto. La prensa empezó a escribir, las noticias a contar la historia, el boca-boca fue exponencial y todo esto dio a luz al público el nuevo parque de Harry Potter.

Todo lo anterior fue posible porque ella entendía los principios básicos de Internet como plataforma para estrategias de mercadeo y porque estaba consciente de sus ventajas. En este lanzamiento no invirtió el presupuesto que tenía y el éxito fue total. Ella fue en contra de la idea de tener que comprar atención y de lo que cualquier persona de mercadeo hubiera hecho con presupuesto ilimitado. Creó un gran ruido que se tradujo en visitantes a la página web (donde capturaba una cantidad de información extra), posibles visitantes al parque, desarrollo de nuevos productos y, sobretodo, un gran retorno sobre la inversión.

Como el caso de Cindy Gordon hay muchos. Lo importante de destacar es cómo el convencimiento de que Internet es una plataforma para desarrollar planes de mercadeo, al igual que el mundo tradicional, es primordial para no dejar escapar oportunidades.

Como se mencionó anteriormente, la idea es que se genere una complementariedad entre las estrategias tradicionales y las digitales. En Colombia son muy pocas las empresas que aprovechan esta nueva forma de mercadear. Así que es el momento justo para que las marcas empiecen a integrar en sus equipos de mercadeo personas conocedoras del mundo digital y de las ventajas de Internet Marketing.

Ricardo Prieto

* Administrador de Empresas de la Universidad de Los Andes, MBA del Lucas Gradua te School of Business y Director de Mercadeo de Marketmedia Communications.

CONEXIóN AGOSTO 2009

Negocios

May 8, 2009

Prime Time in Internet

Filed under: Marketing — Ricardo @ 3:56 pm
Tags: ,

In traditional media, especially in TV and Radio, Prime Time has always carried out the biggest interest.  But when it comes to Internet does the same principle apply? is there a time slot where advertising should be focusing on? or maybe advertise during specific online activities?

A recent article by e-marketer shows what time and what activities are better suited to reach the online users of the UK. It is very important to point out how different age segments respond differently to ads depending on the time of the day. Additionally, attention to ads also varied based on the activities users were engaged in.

This is very interesting because theere are online marketers that advocate that there is no prime time in Internet due to the fact that you pay for exposure on a single item basis. In other words, you buy a specific number of impressions based on a number of parameters (ip, age, gender, etc), so in theory it would not matter if of all of the impressions are exposed at once or distributed in different days or hours.

I think this article shows that although you are paying for a finite number of ads, there could be a prime time not in terms of online usage but in terms of ad awareness.

April 15, 2009

Working with an Interactive Agency

One of the biggest issues in creating a successful Internet Marketing Campaign is establishing a sound alliance with the corresponding agencies. After hearing Allison Lohse of Razorfish speak on how her agency has come to this integration and after getting a hand on an article from Carat Fusion, I’d like to share this best practice:

1. Make it Mandate

  • Define what you mean by integration (Strategic? Execution? Both?)
  • If you are a client, mandate integration among partners
  • If you lead an agency team, work closely with client to get them to mandate it

2. Make it Easy

  • Develop processes and “ways of thinking” that will enable it
  • Eliminate silos in your own organization
  • Be open, forget traditional conventions

3. Develop a Process

  • Work with your various partners to develop one communications briefing document. 
  • Brief all partners at the same time
  • Make the desired outcome clear

4. Don’t stereotype each medium

  • Need to show how online can present the emotional side of a brand (flash, video, podcasts, blogs)
  • Use your rich media partners to put this together, they have a vested interest as well

5. It’s not just about offline and online media. Consider:

  • Web development
  • Promotions
  • Events/ Experience Marketing
  • Multicultural
  • Public relations
  • Alternate Channels

6. When you or your team have done a well-integrated job, celebrate it

  • Capture it and share it
  • Draw conclusions an implications for future programs

No doubt that the weakest link in this integration is the desire to not integrate.

April 2, 2009

Digital Marketing World Expo

Yesterday was my first experience in an Online Digital Trade Show and I must say I was impressed. The show was ran by Marketing Profs and went from 10:30 am EST to 5:00 pm EST. I did not experience technological glimpses and the connection speed was just fine (I am under a 6 mbps DSL connection). Hence, I was able to appreciate all the different options: conferences, exhibit hall, resource center and Networking Lounge without problems.

There were several interesting conferences, including the keynote presentation: The Art of the Possible: Online Branding Strategies and Tactics by David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s Campaign Manager and David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Viral marketing

I also had the chance to talk to various exhibitors in the exhibit hall and take advantage of all the available material in the resource center.

I have to say that the technology aspect was pristine and I would like to congratulate INXPO for making these virtual events a reality. 

All in all, I can see the future of trade shows in this type of format, especially those were intangibles are being offered. And for companies is a pretty interesting idea to sponsor such events and perhaps buy a “booth” in the exhibit hall:  it becomes a cost-effective way of reaching targeted customers.

March 23, 2009

Microsoft’s AdWeek

I just got back from a great invitation to the Microsoft headquarters in Redmont, Washington by the people of Microsoft Advertising LATAM and iNetwork. I was there with brand managers and media coordinators of worldwide brands that operate in Latinamerica.

 

Everyone waiting to go into the House and Office of the Future

Everyone waiting to go into the House and Office of the Future

 

 

The main idea was to show everyone the different options and tools that Microsoft Advertising has. Nonetheless, we also got to see “the house and office of the future”.

At the end of the week it was clear that there is a huge gap in terms of knowledge about Online Advertising and the opportunities it brings to brands across the market from the vast majority of people. Hence, a great deal of the time was spent on defining terms, comparing KPIs to those of traditional media and showing Success Stories.

Questions varied: from very basic Online Marketing 101 stuff (here is a link of Interactive Advertising terms), to some complex and strategic analysis and perspectives. The people of Microsoft and iNetwork did try to level the knowledge field to then introduce all their Online artillery.

Some very interesting facts and options were shown. 

– Xbox Live has more users online at any given time during the day than the top TV show in the USA. This becomes a great opportunity to integrate products with the video game experience. Another variation of product placement.

– Advertisements in Online Videos get 53% more attention than those of TV. Another great opportunity to re-engineer traditional messages to fit online formats.

– The first ever ad banner to run on the Internet was placed by Hotwire (here) and received an approximate 42% Click Through Rate (CTR). An average banner ad in the present day, receives 0.5% CTR.

– Online advertising in Latinamerica accounts for a tiny percentage of the overall advertising budget. Companies like Microsoft spend around 19% of their advertising budget on Digital initiatives. 

In terms of Online advertising tools, Microsoft is doing a great job. Even though Search is dominated by Google, in all other areas Microsoft is giving brands some very interesting alternatives, specially in Latin America where its MSN portal and Messenger service rank very high. 

For me, of the new options showcased, the best one was the opportunity to create a “Brand Robot” in the Messenger service. This gives brands an opportunity to establish a day to day conversation with customers. The basic idea is that people chat with the brand about different issues: it can be non-related brand aspects like entertainment, it can be FAQ, it can be customer service, etc. All in all this alternative imprints the brand’s name in the “chatters” mind. Very effective way to increase TOM and overall recognition.

On a second note, and as I noted above, Advergaming is another excellent chance to incorporate a brand to the target’s everyday life. Microsoft showed two very good examples from the Obama campaign and from Coke on how to make this a successful investment.

Resuming the vast majority of presentations and discussions, it is clear that Internet, Online Advertising and Digital media are shaping the future. Although this is extremely clear in countries like England (where it is said that Online advertising investments are catching up with those of TV) and the United States, it seems that in Latin America this notion is only arriving. This could be a result from the lack of bandwidth or the low penetration of Internet (this figure is dynamically changing and improving). All in all, and the success stories back it up, there is great potencial in this area for brands to acquire new costumers, to increase awareness, to portray product benefits, to execute launches, to gain market share, and to increase sales and profits.

Incorporating the Internet and the available Digital media options as an integral part of the brand strategy can be understood as a first mover advantage; specially in Latin American markets where there is only a “handfull” of brands leveraging on this new way of communicating.

 

Microsoft's entrance

Microsoft's entrance

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