Productive Marketing: Don’t “Just Do It”

“Should we advertise?… increase our twitter presence?…launch an e-mail campaign?… or execute the hot marketing tactic du jour?  These are important questions that you should eventually consider, but in most cases these tactical questions are premature.  Often, they are an early warning sigh that you are on a dangerous path to a disappointing marketing campaign – – and a waste of your precious money.  If most of your recent conversations have been “should you?” save yourself from marketing peril right now. Instead, focus on why.  Set clear, specific business goals first to direct all of your marketing efforts.  It’s infinitely easier to hit a target when you aim.

The most important first question is: “What is your business objective?” Only after you have answered this do you have a sufficient foundation to develop, execute, and invest in a successful marketing program. Use this simple, but effective thought process to guide your marketing decision-making “Objective, Strategy, Tactics.” Here’s how it works:

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Step 1: Clarify your Objective

“What is your business objective?” The clearer and more precise this is, the more productive and cost-effective your marketing will be.

This is the level of clarity you should have for your annual business goals:
– WHAT: Increase a specific business measure (typically sales or market share) from X to Y
– WHO: Among specific target customers (e.g. new customers? existing customers? new channels?)
– WHEN: By what date will you accomplish and measure the business goals?
Now that you have a specific goal, you can develop marketing strategies and programs that link directly to your objective. Your business objective must link directly to your long term goals (typically a five year horizon) as documented in your Strategic Plan.

Step 2: Select Marketing Strategies to Achieve the Objective

Develop appropriate marketing strategies – which are ways you will accomplish the goal. Marketing strategies are not individual marketing programs.  They are the ‘hows’ not the ‘whats.’ The most successful companies and brands stay focused on three to five marketing strategies. This forces discipline and focus on doing fewer important things exceptionally well. Examples of specific marketing objectives are:
– Secure three new “A” accounts
– Increase retail distribution by 10 percent
– Increase awareness among target consumers by 8 percentage points
– Increase sales per transaction by 9 percent
Marketing strategies are the paths you choose to reach your goal. Setting and adhering to marketing strategies is a powerful tool to narrow your focus to only pursue “on strategy” ideas. Most companies have more than 15 percent of their marketing budget invested in programs that are not tied to one of their marketing strategies.  Does yours?

Step 3: Develop Marketing Tactics with Laser Precision

With your business objective and marketing strategies in place, you are now ready to build the marketing plan and evaluate marketing tactics.  Choose your tactics wisely. Make sure they achieve the marketing objective and are a sound choice, based on projected return-on-investment. Even though projecting sales is an imperfect science, marketing budgets must be critically evaluated, just like any other potential business investment.

When you choose among potential marketing tactics, 1) select the right marketing tool to accomplish your desired outcome (e.g. building consumer awareness and increasing customer loyalty are very different marketing challenges that require different marketing tools) and 2) choose the most productive, appropriate, and efficient option (i.e. compare alternative media or programs), different levels of investment in the program, and different creative resources to do the job.  Don’t make a sizable marketing investment in any program until you have evaluated its impact per dollar spent versus alternatives.  This does not recommend ‘analysis paralysis.’ Rather, it’s a plea for you to get the best possible marketing program you deserve

Step 4: Measure and Monitor Performance

Effective marketing, contrary to popular belief, yields measurable results.  Before you start a program, commit to measure the actual performance of the program versus the projected results. Evaluate performance at specific program intervals, typically incremental sales for the duration of the program, and at three- and six- month intervals after its completion, to measure sustained impact.  This keeps you and your organization focused on desired results, rather than activity.

Measuring program impact also gives you quantifiable return-on-investment information to determine whether you should repeat or expand the program in the future. The marketplace is littered with victims of doing marketing tactics without setting business goals. You are bombarded with these potential marketing tragedies every day. Avoid this common plight by applying the same amount of rigor that you use on your other strategic investments. Get more out of every precious marketing program – and dollar!-by using this simple but effective formula: “Objective, Strategy and Tactics.”

by Tammy Katz

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avoid Botching Exposure: No, we still don’t know BDO

BDO, a global accounting, business and financial consultancy, is wasting millions of dollars on its current advertising campaign, “People who know, know BDO.” In their advertising, they could tell you who they are, but they don’t. They could tell you what problems they solve for you, but they don’t.    They could tell their target audience when to contact them and why, but, alas, they don’t.  It’s painful to see such a great introductory opportunity go to waste.

Rather, they do tell you that the people who already are aware of them and know what they do (presumably anyone but the audience) are knowledgeable.     So they are talking only to people who already understand and use their services.     This is a great example of everything you don’t want to do in your advertising.

Sadly, they repeat the strategic vagueness on their website as well (At least the campaign is consistent).BDO

To avoid this, take these simple steps:

1.   Clarify your brand proposition – Who are you, what problem(s) do you solve, who is your target audience, and why are you superior and unique.
2.   Determine your advertising goal – Are you trying to attract new users?  (like BDO is attempting, but failing to do)  Convince current customers to buy/select/consume your brand more frequently?   Are you trying to improve your brand image?    If you are not clear about the purpose of your advertising (or any marketing investment), you can count on meandering advertising, unless your marketing partners are clairvoyant.
3.   Assess your advertising from the consumer’s perspective – What do they know about you now?  What do you want them to know about you after they have been exposed to your message?    Make sure you are giving them a persuasive message, in their language, based on what you know from your consumer research.     Again, BDO makes a common error of crafting advertising based on their internally focused, prideful self-assessment.     It’s a missed opportunity to tell potential customers of who they are, why they’re a superior service, and how they will solve the customer’s problems.
4.  Pre-test your advertising – There are several great advertising effectiveness evaluation methods, including MSW ARS and IPSOS ASI, that will give you unbiased, quantitative and credible feedback on if your advertising campaign is persuasive and has achieved your marketing goals.    These are small investments that can be done while the campaign is in the idea phase, prior to wasting money on producing or airing ads that do little to grow your business, or even may do harm.

Super Bowl XLVIII Ad Rankings: Budweiser, Doritos (and Seahawks) Blowout

Budweiser and Doritos were the uncontested winners in last night’s Ad Bowl, as measured by USAToday (popularity),  Brand Bowl (social media buzz) and Katz Marketing Solutions (effectiveness).   Both brands had two exceptional spots (Budweiser: Puppy Love and Hero’s Welcome; Doritos: Cowboy Kid and Time Machine) that nailed all the essentials of great advertising:   enhances brand equity, persuasive, resonates with the target audience, compelling main message, brand integral to the story, and the Super Bowl ‘wow’ factor for entertainment.   Doritos spots were particularly outstanding – the story line is the quest for the coveted product.

Kudos to several highly effective campaigns that clearly communicated a persuasive sales message (oh – – remember that?) such as Radio Shack (visit our contemporary stores), T-Mobile (no contract carrier), and Volkswagen (durability).     These are the companies most likely to reap the best returns on their +$4 million per ad Super Bowl investments.

While the lovable animals remain timeless, increasingly grating are the formulaic ‘sex sells’ ads, sorely lacking in reasons to prefer their brands.    Sure, they ‘made ya look,” but we doubt H&M, Oikos, or SodaStream need to run out and up their production forecasts.

Lastly, we applaud two brands’ continued respect for diversity:  Cheerios and Coca-Cola.      While Coke’s song choice and multilingual approach pushed the edge with some consumers (a fairly low 57% positive sentiment score), it placed an enviable #5 on BrandBowl’s social media ranking with +33,000 tweets.

As for the worst:  the cringe worthy attempts to be funny, contemporary and cool.    Better luck next year Wonderful Pistachios, GoDaddy, and Beats Music.

Here are the winners (and worst) from three marketing mavens – USAToday’s AdMeter (panel popularity), Pointslocal and Boston.com’s Brand Bowl (twitter volume and sentiment), and Katz Marketing Solutions (effectiveness).

USA Today – AdMeter                              

Best:
1.   Budweiser (“Puppy Love”)

2.  Doritos (“Cowboy Kid”)
3.  Budweiser (“Hero’s Welcome”)
4.  Doritos (“Time Machine”)
5.  Radio Shack (“Phone Call”)

Worst:  BudLight “Cool Twist.”   Good reminder that great advertising requires risk taking.

Pointslocal and Boston.com’s BrandBowl

1.  Budweiser

2.  Doritos
3.  Cheerios
4.  Pepsi
5.  Coke

Worst:  Staples

Katz Marketing Solutions

1.   Budweiser (“Puppy Love”)

2.   Doritos (“Cowboy Kid”)
3.   Doritos (“Time Machine”)
4.   Cheerios (“Gracie”)
5.   Radio Shack (“Phone Call”)

Worst:  GoDaddy

Samsung’s Strategic Apple Smackdown

Samsung continues to brilliantly challenge, and deposition, the Apple brand in its newest Galaxy S4 advertising campaign. Reminiscent of Apple‘s classic “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC” strategy, in which Apple strategically portrays IBM as inferior, old, and tired, Samsung contemporizes that idea by showing itself as the superior, younger, and cooler option. This continues Samsung’s successful strategy of demonstrating wins on brand performance and image vs. Apple that it has employed for several years.

It’s working beautifully, particularly at a time when Apple has finally shown some vulnerability. In fact, according to Interbrand‘s recent Best Global Brands report, Samsung was the biggest rising star in brand valuation – up 40% versus the prior year, now placing it as the world’s 9th most valuable brand. In addition, Samsung has grabbed the #1 market share position in smartphones, jumping ahead of Apple and Nokia. According to Ad Age, Samsung’s market share jumped to 30%, up 9 percentage points vs. the prior year, partly at Apple’s expense, who lost 2 share points. Beyond portraying Samsung’s users as far more savvy, bright, and aspirational, the campaign also persuasively communicates several of Samsung’s feature and performance advantages.

Samsung’s innovation and communication strategy beautifully position themselves as a leader, while strategically redefining the competitive brand as an inferior option.

Lessons learned:
1. Brand challengers can effectively surpass the leader by building brand performance and image superiority. The strategy works particularly well when you win on the primary benefits that drive brand selection and loyalty.
2. Exploit your competitors’ weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Even the most dominant brands have ‘chinks in the armor’ that you can exploit.
3. Innovate quickly and often. Market leaders often innovate and execute more slowly, deliberately, and have higher volume hurdles.

Super Bowl XLVII Ad Winners and Atrocities

No spectacular ads last night (except for the Beyonce brand), but several excellent ads that were well worth the $4.0 million investment for the ad time, pre- and post-game public relations and social media legs.     Super Bowl advertising with strategically sound brand communications that focused on persuading consumers to buy and garner a return-on-investment, rather than sophomoric – or just lame – humor at the expense of a selling message.   Budweiser, Tide, Doritos, Skechers, and Milk Processors most of the car ads were particularly effective at keeping their products central to  the main message (vs. prop ‘afterthought’) and told engaging stories about the quest for the brand.

But some spectacularly cringe worthy ads too:   GoDaddy (disgusting, patronizing and unclear message) and Samsung (fatal flaw: inside jokes about how advertising is developed amuses no one except those who made the ads and unclear message).

Special kudos to Oreo’s brand team and brilliant agency, 360i,  for their nimble Oreo ‘You Can Still Dunk in the Dark’ mega tweet  (over 10,000 tweets) which was created on the spot during the power outage (and depleted chicken wings).    Another bravo to Beyonce’s breathtaking performance (done gratis, but 13 minutes is worth $104 million in advertising).

Here are the winners (and worst) from four marketing mavens – USAToday’s AdMeter (panel popularity), Mullen and Radian6’s Brand Bowl (twitter volume and sentiment),  us (effectiveness), and AceMetrix (Persuasion and Watchability)

USA Today – AdMeter                              

Best:
1.   Budweiser Clydesdale (horse and trainer reunited) 


2.   Tide (Miracle Stain)
3.   RAM (farmers)
4.   Doritos (fashionista Dad)
5.   NFL (Deion Sanders returns)

Worst:  GoDaddy – So awful it doesn’t deserve a link – get domains at 1and1, just in protest.

Mullen and Radian6’s BrandBowl

1.  Volkswagen (get happy office guy)  


2.  Bud Light (voodoo)
3.  Calvin Klein (guy in underwear)
4.  Audi (prom)
5.  Taco Bell (viva young)

Worst:  iRobot

Katz Marketing Solutions

1.  Tide (Miracle Stain) 


2.  Coca-Cola (security camera)
3.  MILK board (Rock running)
4.  Budweiser (horse and trainer reunited)
5.  Skechers (cheetah race)

Worst:  GoDaddy

AceMetrix

1.  Budweiser (horse and trainer reunited) 


2.  MILK board (Rock running)
3.  Coca-Cola (security camera)
4.  Jeep (home again)
5.  Doritos (goat 4 sale)

Worst:   Calvin Klein

5 Ways to Maintain Brand Growth and Relevance: StarKist’s Revitalization Strategy

StarKist‘s marketing strategy is a rich example of maintaining brand relevance and accelerating profitable growth.    Despite having some significant brand challenges:  a mature category, a mature brand, dated brand equities, and pricing challenges, their strategy is spectacular and effective.

Here are the 5 brand revitalization best practices they’ve nailed:

1.   Maintain a clear, consistent, and relevant brand positioning  –  StarKist’s brand’s positioning is the best brand of high quality, nutritious tuna.   This has been a virtual constant for over 60 years.   Consistency is relatively easy, but maintaining relevance over time is more difficult and even treacherous, if you don’t do it.    They have brilliantly adapted, but not radically changed, the brand positioning to ‘the best brand of high quality satiating nutritious tuna.’     That transformative “tweak” moves pre-packaged tuna from dated and increasingly irrelevant, to a brand that is contemporary, appealing and compelling for today’s consumer.

  

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Ad Bowl 2012: Return to Sanity

While there were no must-see, spectacular ads last night, there were many excellent ads that were well worth the $3.5 million investment for the ad time, pre- and post-game public relations and social media legs.      Super Bowl advertisers returned to their senses with strategically sound brand communications that focused on persuading consumers to buy one return-on-investment, rather than misguided attempts to win on entertainment and humor.   Doritos, Oikos, Skechers, H&M and most of the car ads, just to name a few, had their brands central to the storyline (vs. prop ‘afterthought’) and told engaging stories about the quest for the brand.

Special groans for Chevrolet’s dark and tasteless Silverado apocalypse ad.     Visuals of tragic wreckage, in which the guy in the Ford perished.    Disgusting and a terrible statement, if any, about the brand.

Here are the winners (and worst) from three marketing mavens – USAToday‘s AdMeter (panel popularity) and  USAToday’s Facebook AdMeter (FB popularity), Mullen and Radian6’s Brand Bowl (twitter volume and sentiment), and us (effectiveness).

USA Today – AdMeter                              

Best:
1.   Doritos (dog bribes cat owner)


2.   Volkswagen (dog gets fit, Star Wars)
3.   Skechers (dog in sneakers wins race)
4.   Doritos (sling baby)
5.   M&M/Mars (Mrs. Brown)

Worst:  GE (turbine workers make energy)
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