Archive: stickiness

Marketing on a tight budget during a recession

The “Gretchenfrage” most discussed in the advertising industry right now is whether we will have a full-fledged downturn in advertising spending across all media, or whether there are niches and segments of the advertising /media industry that could even benefit from the recession. This being the 2nd downturn that I have experienced in my career, I am firmly convinced that the latter will happen.

I make this assumption based on several factors:

  1. A new generation of marketing decision makers now has control over most large budgets. This generation understands the power of digital communication- even though in the past years it has underestimated the potential impact of Web 2.0 and has continued allocating a disproportionate amount of money to traditional media without measuring that performance.
  2. Cutbacks in marketing and sales budgets are rather absurd when the real problem is crumbling sales, but this happens in every recession and it will happen this time around again. Since at the same time marketing performance will be measured more and more in terms of contribution to sales, marketing decision makers will focus on campaign tools and media that either directly or indirectly increase sales performance. Gone are the expensive TV commercials with bikini clad, young beauties on a tropical island, and in comes unsexy sales-driven below the line marketing. The past 2 ½ years have proven, however, that marketing in a Web 2.0 world need not be dreary at all even while contributing directly to sales lead generation.
  3. Web 2.0 advertising formats and communication models have reached a level of maturity and a critical mass among users that allow them to have a measurable impact on brand communication and sales lead generation.

The coming year will see providers of Web 2.0 campaign solutions and media ad placements achieving disproportionate success considering the downturn and cutbacks of media budgets. This will happen for precisely the reason that in the past 1 ½ years many showcases of Social Marketing have been started that have proven or will prove to have been successful to an unexpected degree. After the Beacon disaster these showcases will turn the tide, much in the way keyword advertising established itself in 2002 – 2004.

Our best reference is http://bmw-web.tv, which generated considerable brand awareness for our client BMW. BMW itself doubled that success by creating, at the same time, a national web TV project that was equally successful called BMW TV which greatly enhanced traction to its own site. For confidentiality reasons I cannot give you figures, but trust me the impact was measurable.

Advertisers of the old school often argue that performance marketing or traditional lead generation marketing does not help the brand gain emotional traction and awareness. That dichotomy is of the past. Social relevance, rich media and video formats allow the digital sphere to create a branding experience that is as emotionally compelling as television and as measurably successful as search engine marketing. That has always been the holy grail of advertising, and we seem to have found it.

If you want more information or need help achieving that success, contact me.

It’s all about Psychology

Even the smartest VCs still need an irrational exuberence moment to take their decision. The Financing of the Next Big Thing (NBT) is secured – but in the round (won’t be more specific in case one of them reads this) some of the VCs, though very smart and rational, still need the feeling of “we’ve got to rush to the bandwagon” before they really commit. And that means we have to waste some energy just to prove that we can scale fast really fast.

We believe that you have to finetune your Value Proposition. and make yourself sticky before you explode – or you wil get ephemereal and lose the audience you reach. That doesn’t mean being slow or defensive – it means spending as much energy on retaining customers / users as on winning new ones. Not an easy one. But probably the secret to success.

Now customer retention is probably achieved by the basics:

- compelling, understandable value proposition
- swift, perfect service delivery (including technology)
- simple mantra (see Guy Kawasaki on that) that’ll be told at every party

In short: gain not only a lot of contacts, but a relevant portion of mind share as well.

I’ll report more on this, because we have devised a nice little strategy to comply without wasting marketing reach. There is Gold there.

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