Affliate Marketing and the use of the Web Bug

Standard

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing (sometimes called lead generation) occurs when advertisers organize third parties to generate potential customers for them. Third-party affiliates receive payment based on sales generated through their promotion.[1]:22

Compensation Methods

Advertisers and publishers use a wide range of payment calculation methods. In 2012, advertisers calculated 32% of online advertising transactions on a cost-per-impression basis, 66% on customer performance (e.g. cost per click or cost per acquisition), and 2% on hybrids of impression and performance methods.[

CPM (Cost Per Mille)

Cost per mille, often abbreviated to CPM, means that advertisers pay for every thousand displays of their message to potential customers (mille is the Latin word for thousand). In the online context, ad displays are usually called “impressions.” Definitions of an “impression” vary among publishers,and some impressions may not be charged because they don’t represent a new exposure to an actual customer. Advertisers can use technologies such as web bugs to verify if an impression is actually delivered.

Publishers use a variety of techniques to increase page views, such as dividing content across multiple pages, repurposing someone else’s content, using sensational titles, or publishing tabloid or sexual content.

CPM advertising is susceptible to “impression fraud,” and advertisers who want visitors to their sites may not find per-impression payments a good proxy for the results they desire.

CPC (cost per click)

CPC (Cost Per Click) or PPC (Pay per click) means advertisers pay each time a user clicks on the ad. CPC advertising works well when advertisers want visitors to their sites, but it’s a less accurate measurement for advertisers looking to build brand awareness.CPC’s market share has grown each year since its introduction, eclipsing CPM to dominate two-thirds of all online advertising compensation methods.

Like impressions, not all recorded clicks are valuable to advertisers. GoldSpot Media reported that up to 50% of clicks on static mobile banner ads are accidental and resulted in redirected visitors leaving the new site immediately.

Other performance-based compensation

CPA (Cost Per Action or Cost Per Acquisition) or PPP (Pay Per Performance) advertising means the advertiser pays for the number of users who perform a desired activity, such as completing a purchase or filling out a registration form. Performance-based compensation can also incorporate revenue sharing, where publishers earn a percentage of the advertiser’s profits made as a result of the ad. Performance-based compensation shifts the risk of failed advertising onto publishers.

Fixed cost

Fixed cost compensation means advertisers pay a fixed cost for delivery of ads online, usually over a specified time period, irrespective of the ad’s visibility or users’ response to it.

Web bug

 

web bug is an object that is embedded in a web page or email and is usually invisible to the user but allows checking that a user has viewed the page or email.Common uses are email tracking and page tagging for Web analytics. Alternative names are web beacontracking bugtag, or page tag. Common names for web bugs implemented through an embedded image include tracking pixelpixel tag1×1 gif, and clear gif. When implemented using JavaScript, they may be called JavaScript tags.

Web bugging is analogous to conventional bugging, but is not as invasive or intrusive. The term should not be confused with the morebenign web spider nor more malicious computer worms. A web bug should also not be confused with a software bug, which is a glitch or error in a program.

 

 

Overview

A web bug is any of a number of techniques used to track who is reading a web page or email, when, and from which computer. They can also be used to see if an email was read or forwarded to someone else, or if a web page was copied to another website. The first web bugs were small images.

Some emails and web pages are not wholly self-contained. They may refer to content on another server, rather than including the content directly. When an email client or web browser prepares such an email or web page for display, it ordinarily sends a request to the server to send the additional content.

These requests typically include the IP address of the requesting computer, the time the content was requested, the type of web browser that made the request, and the existence of cookies previously set by that server. The server can store all of this information, and associate it with a unique tracking token attached to the content request.

On web pages

Web bugs are typically used by third parties to monitor the activity of customers at a site.

As an example of the way web bugs can make user logging easier, consider a company that owns a network of sites. This company may have a network that requires all images to be stored on one host computer while the pages themselves are stored elsewhere. They could use web bugs in order to count and recognize users traveling around the different servers on the network. Rather than gathering statistics and managing cookies on all their servers separately, they can use web bugs to keep them all together.

Tracking on web pages can be disabled using a number of techniques.

  • Turning off a browser’s cookies can prevent some web bugs from tracking a customer’s specific activity. The web site logs will still record a page request from the customer’s IP address, but unique information associated with a cookie cannot be recorded. However, web site server techniques that do not use cookies can be employed to help track a site’s cookie-blocking users. For example, a web site can identify a request from a new visitor and send that visitor links that pass a unique ID as a GET parameter.
  • Browser add-ons and extensions can be used. For example, the Ghostery add-on analyzes JavaScript to detect trackers, web bugs, pixels, and beacons.

In email

Web bugs are frequently used in email marketing as a way of determining which recipients open the email. Doing this allows marketers to know who has seen the promotion or announcement that they have sent, and allows them to back-off or re-engage appropriately.

Some web bugs tracking in email can be disabled by:

  • Turning off HTML display and displaying only the text.
  • Turning off the display of images while still using HTML.

Implementation

Originally, a web bug was a small (usually 1×1 pixeltransparent GIF or PNG image (or an image of the same color as the background) that was embedded in an HTML page, usually a page on the web or the content of an email. Modern web bugs also use the HTML IFrame, style, script, input link, embed, object, and other tags to track usage. Whenever the user opens the page with a graphical browser or email reader, the image or other information is downloaded. This download requires the browser to request the image from the server storing it, allowing the server to take notice of the download. As a result, the organization running the server is informed when the HTML page has been viewed.

The image or other content does not have to be invisible: any element requested from the third party can be used for tracking. Typically advertisements, banners and buttons are fetched from the site to which they are connected, not from the servers of the main content. This gives the external site information about visitors of the site including these on their pages. Companies or organisations, buttons or images of which are included on many sites, can thus track (part of) the browsing habits of a significant share of web users. Earlier, this included mainly ad- or counter-serving companies, but nowadays buttons of social media sites are becoming common.

While web bugs are used in the same way in web pages or emails, they have different purposes:

  1. If the bug is embedded in an email, the image is requested when the user reads the email for the first time, and can also be requested every time that the user subsequently loads the email;
  2. Whenever a web page (with or without bugs) is downloaded, the server holding the page knows and can store the IP address of the computer requesting the page; this information can therefore be retrieved from the server log files without the need of using bugs. Bugs are used when the monitoring party does not have easy access to the logs of the main web server. This may be, for example, because the web site owner does not control the web servers (web hotels) or because monitoring is done by a third party.

As with all files transferred using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol, web bugs are requested by sending the server their URL, and possibly the URL of the page containing them. Both URLs contain information that can be useful for the server:

  1. The URL of the page containing the bug allows the server to determine which particular web page the user has accessed;
  2. The URL of the bug can be appended with an arbitrary string in various ways while still identifying the same object; this extra information can be used to better identify the conditions under which the bug has been loaded, and can be added while sending the page or by JavaScript scripts after the download.

For example, an email sent to the address somebody@example.org can contain the embedded image of URLhttp://example.com/bug.gif?somebody@example.org. Whenever the user reads the email, the image at this URL is requested. The part of the URL after the question mark is ignored by the server for the purpose of determining which file to send, but the complete URL is stored in the server’s log file. As a result, the file bug.gif is sent and shown in the email reader; at the same time, the server stores the fact that the particular email sent to somebody@example.org has been read. Using this system, a spammer oremail marketer can send similar emails to a large number of addresses to check which ones are valid and read by the users.

Web bugs can be used in combination with HTTP cookies like any other object transferred using the HTTP protocol.

Email web bugs

Web bugs embedded in emails have greater privacy implications than bugs embedded in web pages. Through the use of unique identifiers contained in the URL of the web bugs, the sender of an email containing a web bug is able to record the exact time that a message was read, as well as the IP address of the computer used to read the mail or the proxy server that the user went through. In this way, the sender can gather detailed information about when and where each particular recipient reads email. Every subsequent time the email message is displayed can also send information back to the sender.

Web bugs are used by email marketers, spammers, and phishers to verify that email addresses are valid, that the content of emails has made it past the spam filters, and that the email is actually viewed by users. When the user reads the email, the email client requests the image, letting the sender know that the email address is valid and that email was viewed. The email need not contain an advertisement or anything else related to the commercial activity of the sender. This makes detection of such emails harder for mail filters and users.[6]

Tracking via web bugs can be prevented by using email clients that do not download images whose URLs are embedded in HTML emails. Many graphical email clients can be configured to avoid accessing remote images. Examples include the GmailYahoo!, andSpamCop/Horde webmail clients; Mozilla ThunderbirdOperaPegasus MailIncrediMail, later versions of Microsoft Outlook, and KMailmail readers. Other HTML techniques (such as IFrames) can still be used to track email viewing.

Text-based mail readers (such as Pine or Mutt) and graphical email clients with purely text-based HTML capabilities (such as Mulberry) do not interpret HTML or display images, so their users are not subject to tracking by email web bugs. Plain-text email messages cannot contain web bugs because their contents are interpreted as display characters instead of embedded HTML code, so opening messages does not initiate communication. Some email clients offer the option to disable all HTML in every message (thus rendering all messages as plain text), which prevents any web bugs from loading.

Many modern email readers and web-based email services will not load images when opening an HTML email from an unknown sender or that is suspected to be spam mail. The user must explicitly choose to load images. Web bugs can also be filtered out at the server level so that they never reach the end user. MailScanner is an example of gateway software that can disarm IFrames as well as web bugs. Disconnecting from the Internet before reading any downloaded messages and then deleting those messages suspected of containing web bugs before reconnecting may also eliminate the threat.

hosts file or a filtering web proxy can be used to specify that some servers are never to be contacted for any reason. This file must be continually updated to reflect the fact that new tracking servers are periodically brought online, and old ones re-purposed to serve legitimate content.

As web bugs require the email software to fetch the content, they have never been able to accurately count read rates for email campaigns. As a result of the above-mentioned measures, they may become still less effective.

Disposition-Notification-To email headers may be seen as another form of web bug. See RFC 4021.

See also

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Stefanie Olsen (July 12, 2000). “Nearly undetectable tracking device raises concern”CNET News. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  2. Jump up^ Richard M. Smith (November 11, 1999). “The Web Bug FAQ”EFF.org Privacy Archive. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  3. Jump up^ http://www.mailsbroadcast.com/email.bolts.nuts/about.web.bugs.htm
  4. Jump up^ David Cancel; Felix Shnir (July 2, 2012). “Ghostery”Add-ons for Firefox. mozilla.org. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  5. Jump up^ Ed Felten (May 25, 2004). “Email Tracking: It Gets Worse”Freedom to Tinker. Center for Information Technology Policy. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
  6. Jump up^ David Berlind (September 26, 2006). “Have you received any “traceable” PattyMail recently?”. ZDNet. Retrieved July 12, 2012.

External links[edit]

Affiliate Marketing for Dummies – Getting Started

Standard
The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a fra...

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a framework for how to categorize metrics from the tactical to strategic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Mobile marketing research - Methods

English: Mobile marketing research – Methods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Affiliate Marketing for Dummies – Getting Started

The Do’s and Don’ts

This article on affiliate marketing for dummies is for people who join affiliate marketing without a clue on what to do or where to begin, but don’t worry this happens to the best of us. If you’re like me then the moment you stepped into the affiliate marketing world you were overwhelmed by all the resources, tools, and training that jumped at you, that’s if you had a good sponsor (we’ll talk about that in just a second).

You must ask yourself, what caught your attention most in the industry? Was it the income opportunity, working from home, not having a boss, or just a little bit of all three? Maybe you just want to be successful and start helping people who want change, people who deserve change. Either way I have a few tips for you newbies out there.

Research, Research, and More Research

Before you even think about joining you have to do some research on the program that interests you such as proof videos, article reviews, company history, the company compensation plan, etc. This is a good way to really find out if the company is a scam or not. Don’t be one of those people who see 8 positive reviews and 1 scam review and end up thinking it’s a scam, those people are looking for every reason not to join.

If you made up your final decision then try not to hesitate. I had this same problem with hesitating and it did me no good, why? Well you have to be 110% sure for every decision you make when it comes to choosing a company but don’t get me wrong I do not want to feel like I am forcing you because at the end of the day the decision is all yours. I’m only here to provide information and value to you.

Find a Good Sponsor

Before you join any company you have to make sure you’re signing under a good sponsor. I can speak from experience, I remember joining without knowing anything about affiliate marketing, I must have joined under the worst sponsor alive. Your sponsor needs to provide you the training and resources you need to get off on the right foot because if not then you’re going to kill time finding this all out on your own.

There are a lot of people who come to other sponsors asking for help because their own sponsors abandoned them. They may provide help but you have to understand that the good sponsors have their own team to help out first, but don’t expect for your sponsor to hold your hand through everything. You need to put in your own work because this is your business, a sponsor will only put you on the right foot and guide you whenever you’re lost but he will not make the money for you, you have to work and earn it yourself.

Investing

Don’t think you will make money just by joining a program, no, you need to invest in tools like that’ll help you move forward. This is critical for your business, you need to think like a marketer which means investing and learning effective marketing techniques. Have a ‘marketers eye’ go outside and look at all the advertising signs and how they put their words together. You can also get the companies number and maybe do your own advertising. Just an idea ;).

The wonderful thing about investing in a work from home business is that it’s super cheap, the only thing you need to be aware of are the monthly payments most companies ask for. To open up a fast food franchise can cost you over $1,000,000 at times, landscaping businesses can cost up to $500,000, online businesses can cost up to $5,000 depending on what program you choose, not bad right? It’s actually mind blowing. Network Marketing came first in the total globe sales as of 2012 ranking over the many industries like the music industry and gaming industry with over $165 Billion. This alone should motivate you and pump you up to become successful in this industry.

A Little Bit of Me

I, personally love everything about this industry it has taught me so much so far. It has really changed the way I think forever and I know it will do the same for you if you stay focused and positive. My goal here is to help everyone in need because that’s what attracts me most and it should be the same way with you. Don’t just do it for the money do it because you want to, do it because you have that burning desire and faith that you will succeed and watch these same emotions open many many doors for you.

I believe network marketing will be the future and I also believe the 97% fail percentage will drastically decrease within the next few years. Why do I know this because what goes up must come down and if the fail percentage rate is that high then the only way from here is down, especially with all the resources we have on the internet we just have to take advantage of them and use them to the fullest extent.

Ask yourself, where will you be 5 years from now. Do you think you will have the successful life of your dreams? Do you see your hands on the steering wheel of your dream car? Do you see your house up on the hill? You need to dream and dream big and take action everyday. Don’t waste a second because it may be life changing

If you just joined the affiliate marketing world then please don’t be overwhelmed, this takes time, consistency, and patience so stick with it and don’t you quit. If you’re not taking action or learning something everyday then you need to start. Start right this moment, and now that you have this knowledge share it with others who are interested, become a leader and build a team and I promise you the world is yours. Who knows, maybe you’ll make the next Affiliate Marketing for Dummies article :).

Standard
English: A schematic illustrating the evolving...

English: A schematic illustrating the evolving relationship between the firm and its customers via the marketing orientation, which includes the introduction of a new marketing concept, customer enrichment marketing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LinkedinAnswers

LinkedinAnswers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A business ideally is continually see...

English: A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps marketers adjust offerings to meet customer needs. Source of diagram: here (see public domain declaration at top). Questions: write me at my Wikipedia talk page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An example of the use of a virtuous circle in ...

An example of the use of a virtuous circle in management. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

linkedin

linkedin (Photo credit: Inmobiliaria Lares, Cangas)

LinkedIn One Percent Most Viewed Profiles Email

LinkedIn One Percent Most Viewed Profiles Email (Photo credit: DavidErickson)

3 Digital Marketing Tips Every Brand Should Know for the New Year

inShare633

Recently, a publication from my home country of Canada wrote one of my favorite pieces about Kiip and what we’re helping redefine. The article explores three things every digital marketer should know, and I’d encourage everyone to read it. I wanted to reiterate and expand upon a few of the points for my LinkedIn audience and examine them through the lens of Kiip.

Without further adieu, here are the three things every digital marketer should know:

1. Build customer loyalty instantly on the first encounter

In the on-demand age we live in, patience wears thin quickly. For a sign of how fast we move, look no further than the fact that people ditch slow-loading videos after two seconds.

We aim to cater to that need for speed by providing rewards that are redeemable on the spot. There’s no waiting around, accumulating points or jumping through hoops – you earned the reward, so why shouldn’t you be able to enjoy it when you want to? We call this conceptconsumable loyalty, the notion of creating the right match of a reward in a moment where your customer is the most receptive. It’s the most effective way to build appreciation in the very limited amount of time you have as a marketer to engage with your customer.

2. Target moments, not impressions

Impressions are an empty metric because they only indicate whether a customer has seen an ad – not whether they actually engaged with the ad, let alone enjoyed it.

We are on a mission to entice brands to focus on moments. Practically every app has some manifestation of these moments to varying degrees of intensity. These mobile moments are important because of the emotion that it embodies. When you are with a user when they are feeling something, the impact is the greatest. Moments can be positive, like leveling up in a game or finishing a to-do list, or even negative. Both ways create opportunities to create meaningful engagement. Moments in our eyes is the currency of hyper-engagement. It’s a metric that’s mathematically sound and capable of fitting in media models and at the same time subjective enough to describe the gap left between the CPC and CPM worlds. There is something to be said about the emotional state of a consumer and we’re measuring it in their responses, in real time.

One of my favorite campaigns we’ve ever done was with Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft), who wanted to own all the “sour” moments in our network by offering Sour Patch Kids rewards. The campaign turned all “sour” moments “sweet” by doing things like rewarding users even if they died in a game. People loved it, and so did the industry – it was named one of Mobile Marketer’s top 10 CPG mobile campaigns of the year.

3. Cater to consumer behavior instead of changing it

Don’t force your customers to alter their path – go where they’re already going. For example, after logging a daily run in a fitness-tracking app, which is more relevant – an invitation to download a random app or a reward for a free bottle of Gatorade; or even a free song download for the consumer’s next workout playlist? One tries to spur an unwanted action and the other taps into a stream of existing behavior.

To consumers, that highly interactive connection makes brand engagement a delight instead of a chore. It is very important to note that the delight can only be unexpected. Most mobile advertising typically ignores this very important distinction. When someone is working toward a predefined objective and knows how to earn a reward, the experience becomes a task for a reward. This is too Pavlovian and removes true delight.

The grander principle here isn’t various buzzwords like “value-exchange”, “gamification” or “beyond-the-banner”. It’s all really quite simple. We’re all humans and we enjoy the simple delights of life. Consumer brands offer products to enhance some aspect of our lives; why can’t they do the same through their first impressions with us? To the extent that this can happen through content, sponsorship, or experiences – this is how integrated marketing has helped change this landscape.

Remember simply to find existing consumer experiences and to find ways to add to it rather than to detract from it.

 

Stéphén Dǻrori


  • Laura James

    Laura James

    Senior Strategic Account Manager, Client Relations at CSG Systems, Inc.

    Great article! Very interesting concept. It’s true. People loves surprises, particularly ones that are relevant and can be immediately acted upon and “consumed”.

    1 day ago

  • Ankit Mohan

    Ankit Mohan

    Offshore Business Development Manager at The Monachie Project

    Very well written…And I believe it is really true, in this age of instant analyses of engagement, it has really become necessary to be with the consumer rather than go against and try to force something extraordinary. Some of the most successful campaigns in this digital age have been those that have been simple and in tune with consumer mood.

    1 day ago

    Maria C. and null
  • Roderick Hunnicutt

    Roderick Hunnicutt

    Socratic Investments, LLC

    You focus on your customer’s loyalty, what makes them come back for more? Good service? Quality products? Digital marketing can focus on customers trust on brands, so make sure that your brand is trustworthy and you can make sure of that by giving them the best experience through great customer service and quality products.

    1 day ago

  • Tenika B.

    Tenika B.

    Social media manager

    Very interesting article. Thank you for sharing this. Im particularly interested in a point you made in section #1 “creating the right match of a reward in a moment where your customer is most receptive” can you suggest how this might be actioned or give any examples of companies that already do this well?

    20 hours ago

  • Christian Poch

    Christian Poch

    Business Development Manager at Softonic

    Very interesting article!!! Let’s engage from second 1! 😉

    1 day ago

  • Donald Beasley

    Donald Beasley

    Independent Arts and Crafts Professional

    I’ve learned another new thing today.

    1 day ago

  • John Galavan

    John Galavan

    Sales Professional – Find me on Kindle!

    You do hit the one factor that must be managed- no attention span. This becomes crazy when building a brand but it must be addressed. You are on to something important Brian. How about the next post dealing with attention span and ways to break into this, move prospect along buying path, and closing. Or, using no attention span to build a brand.

    1 day ago

  • Cornelia Pauline

    Cornelia Pauline

    Entrepreneur/ Writer

    Great article! I especially found the part about the 2 second rule to be true. You have to engage your customers/users within the first few seconds and then build from there.

    1 day ago

  • Michael MacMillan

    Michael MacMillan 2nd

    CEO Vizualize Realtime Shopper Insights

    That is not just true about digital bricks & mortar centric brands have only 3 to 5 seconds typically as we’ll

    1 day ago

  • harry parks

    harry parks

    disigner

    wow

    1 day ago

  • Monika Tumaite

    Monika Tumaite

    International Business Management Student – The University of Sheffield/Copenhagen Business School

    All of the 3 points were very well put. Thanks Brian!

    1 day ago

  • Mary Rose DeMarco

    Mary Rose DeMarco

    Marketing & Accounts Manager at LiDestri Food, Beverage & Spirits

    Great article!! #mobilemoments

    1 day ago

  • Nora Shumpert

    Nora Shumpert

    Instructor at John Casablancas Modeling and Career Centers

    Love that information, thank you for it

    1 day ago

  • Delta Software Solutions

    Delta Software Solutions

    Traffic Surveys Solutions

    Well Authored!!! 🙂

    1 day ago

  • Marco Gabrielli

    Marco Gabrielli

    Head of Business Development at Scorpion Brand & Technology

    Simple 3 points, but each hits the nail on its head. Couldn’t agree more

    1 day ago

  • Samuel Sasmito

    Samuel Sasmito

    Marketing at PT. Saimen Citra Rasa

    “Cater to consumer behavior instead of changing it”

    1 day ago

  • Sachin Chawla

    Sachin Chawla 2nd

    Product Manager at Marketing & Sales Company

    Good article..

    1 day ago

  • Ravindra Chechani (Maheshwari), ITIL

    Ravindra Chechani (Maheshwari), ITIL

    Technical Leader at iNautix Tech. Ltd. (A BNY Mellon Company)

    Nice Article . Like the “Cater to consumer behavior instead of changing it”.

    1 day ago

  • Nora Kamsani

    Nora Kamsani

    Business Development Manager at Razzqee Services

    Well put together…Great tips

    1 day ago

  • Manolita Oligo

    Manolita Oligo 2nd

    live-in senior caregiver at White residence

    Servicing a customer is part of every purchase and interaction. So if we do it and experience it everyday in almost everything we do, why isn’t good customer service the norm? We all have stories about when we are treated exceptionally well or extremely poor. We tend to share these extraordinary stories with others. Warren Buffett said it best : It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll things differently.”

    23 hours ago

  • Sheema Ali

    Sheema Ali

    Digital Marketing Strategist

    The 3rd Rule should come first.. For the simple reason that to bring about a change, you should understand the current status… Behavioral changes happen over a period of time & there is NO 2 mins noodles recipe to it.. Its prudent to start at a common topic of interest & gradually drive the consumers….

    23 hours ago

  • Basuraj Harijan

    Basuraj Harijan

    student at ssims

    Very interesting article and Its new learning 4 d day.

    23 hours ago

  • Julio Espina

    Julio Espina

    Marketing & E-Commerce Department Head at Powerhouse Distributors Inc.

    Those are some top-notch observations. I couldn’t agree any better. Instead of forcing them to engage with you, why not pattern your efforts to compliment their behavior. And therefore appearing more genuine rather than obstructive.

    22 hours ago

  • Jerca Vertovsek Macek

    Jerca Vertovsek Macek

    Digital Marketing Manager

    Great article! Thank you for the tips!

    22 hours ago

  • Nora Guba

    Nora Guba

    Marketing Manager, Central and Eastern Europe at CMS Cameron McKenna

    Spot on! Time to start thinking INSIDE the new digital box(es)

    21 hours ago

  • Hanna Barishnikova

    Hanna Barishnikova

    KA Manager at ABA English

    Good one! Thanks for sharing!

    21 hours ago

  • Eduardo M. Rosas

    Eduardo M. Rosas 2nd

    Capital Markets Business Development Manager

    well design thoughts, excellent article

    18 hours ago

  • tariq bensghir

    tariq bensghir

    MARKETER

    Absolute Media Monster. Guaranteed CB Best Seller! Venus Factor Is The Highest Converting, Highest Epc Female Fat Loss Offer Ever. Kyle Leon’s Best Vsl By Far http://441d2rhmkl0m2x2gqa3ivjgkfa.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=VENUS FACTOR

    19 hours ago

  • Raj Kosaraju

    Raj Kosaraju

    CIO at Maxil Technology Solutions Inc

    Brian, I liked the article. I absolutely agree with the fact that highly interactive connection makes brand engagement a delight instead of a chore. It is very important to note that the delight can only be unexpected. Consumer brands offer products to enhance some aspect of our lives; why can’t they do the same through their first impressions with us? To the extent that this can happen through content, sponsorship, or experiences – this is how integrated marketing has helped change this landscape.

    15 hours ago

  • Karen Matheson

    Karen Matheson

    Active Schools Manager at South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture Ltd

    Really enjoyed this article!

    15 hours ago

  • Brett Jacobson

    Brett Jacobson

    Business and Systems Integration Analyst at Accenture Federal Services

    Interesting article. Wish companies would pick up on these ideas at a faster pace than what they are going at. There are so many ways to draw consumers in with advertising and it seems like companies are really missing the ball.

    15 hours ago

  • Jon Flores

    Jon Flores

    Director, Business Development

    Companies that can grab a prospects attention instantly are worthy of serious analysis as, especially on LinkedIn, the act of following your company is just the first step. Posting ads or updates for key players in your follower pool is the next step and if you already have their ear its all about making sure the content is worth listening (or in this case reading).

    15 hours ago

  • Avinash Singh

    Avinash Singh 2nd

    Marketing Executive at MetaOption

    Great Article !!

    15 hours ago

  • Lee Latham

    Lee Latham

    Member Relations Manager for Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce

    “Target moments, not impressions” Turning sour to sweet as an example what a brilliant concept for m-commerce!

    15 hours ago

  • Maria Chufranova

    Maria Chufranova

    Magento, WordPress, SugarCRM, Drupal, Joomla, iOS, Android, SEO Accounts Manager

    Great article! Interesting thoughts. However I can’t agree with some of them. For example “There’s no waiting around, accumulating points or jumping through hoops – you earned the reward, so why shouldn’t you be able to enjoy it when you want to?” I know why! Because people value things they work for. Give a consumer free coupon on the street and see how many such instant coupons will be used. But give a consumer app with point collecting system and make it a game, a mission. Customers will be coming to your store/company over and over again and enjoy seeing app interface changing, new statuses achieved and new benefits collected. I know it because I’m the one who gets exited when my gas tank is empty. Because it means I get new point on my card and more rewards – I’m on the mission)) And I know I’m not the only one… Just saying…

    14 hours ago

  • Jaime Shine

    Jaime Shine

    Writing Services • Marketing Services • Social Media Services • Content Creation

    Love your article, Brian, especially point #2. As marketers, we can become fixed on impressions or views, which really don’t mean much in the long run. I’ve read some insightful posts and articles which bring up this point in light of the recent Facebook fiasco of losing reach.

    11 hours ago

  • Christopher Munz

    Christopher Munz

    Experienced Digital Marketer – Bridging the data gap between Social, Mobile, and Offline Channels for over 10 years

    3 great tips that will help keep you grounded next year with your marketing efforts.

    10 hours ago

  • Michael LiCalsi

    Michael LiCalsi

    Executive VP Marketing / Public Speaker

    #3 is key. Thanks for sharing.

    9 hours ago

  • Mickey Wind

    Mickey Wind

    Marketing with results

    Very good article. For businesses that have reward points, there should be points awarded just for somebody signing up for the program. In signing up a person took as much time out of their lives as they do when they add something to their cart. They should be rewarded for that time and for adding themselves to your marketing campaigns.

    9 hours ago

  • Fred Horstman

    Fred Horstman

    Sole Proprietor at My own company

    Number 3 is what Samsung did. They focused on consumer’s behavior. Sony tried to change consumer behavior. Now Samsung is number one.

    6 hours ago

  • Michelle Pate

    Michelle Pate

    Marketing Consultant

    Very well written…And I believe it is really true, in this age of instant analyses of engagement, it has really become necessary to be with the consumer rather than go against and try to force something extraordinary. Some of the most successful campaigns in this digital age have been those that have been simple and in tune with consumer mood.

    4 hours ago

What The Best Brands Will Do In 2014

Standard

Stephen Darori on Brands and Branding

What The Best Brands Will Do In 2014

Stephen Darori

The pace of change, disruption, and fragmentation in many industries can sometimes overwhelm even the savviest and experienced of us. There is a very solid level of know-how and experience required to successfully drive marketing and brand strategies and to execute in excellence. Even more so in the future.

Let´s have a look at what I think the main focus areas and aspirations of successful brands will be in 2014:

Being Best in Product and Services Development and Delivery
At the heart of successful marketing and branding is – and also in 2014 and beyond will be- a great product and/or service creation and delivery. Successful brands, products, and services will have a higher level of personalization in order to become more relevant and meaningful to consumers. Besides rational features like quality, price, customer services, etc. the brand decision process…

View original post 3,834 more words

Why can’t we be friends? Five steps to better relations between CFOs and CMOs

Standard
Marketing Digital

Marketing Digital (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Español: Marketing Small Business Finance Corp...

Español: Marketing Small Business Finance Corporation, Compañía netamente puertoriqueña que trabaja con SBA para el crecimiento de los pequeños negocios (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finance and Commerce - New Applications Levera...

Finance and Commerce – New Applications Leverage The Popularity Of Social Networks – 02/16/09 (Photo credit: DavidErickson)

Übersicht der Marketing-Instrumente

Übersicht der Marketing-Instrumente (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Marketing Small Business Finance Corp...

English: Marketing Small Business Finance Corporation Logo Español: Logotipo de Marketing Small Business Finance Corporation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a fra...

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a framework for how to categorize metrics from the tactical to strategic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Histograms help analyze metrics

Histograms help analyze metrics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Der Loyalitätskreislauf (Marketing, E-Marketing)

Der Loyalitätskreislauf (Marketing, E-Marketing) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why can’t we be friends? Five steps to better relations between CFOs and CMOs

The application of data analytics offers a useful approach to build more collaboration in support of stronger growth.

Marketing is in the midst of a performance revolution. The application of advanced analytics and plentiful data has allowed chief marketing officers (CMOs) to demonstrate the return on investment from marketing activities with a degree of precision that’s never been possible before. With companies spending as much as 10 percent of their annual budgets on marketing, depending on the industry—a whopping $1 trillion globally—this rapidly developing ability to put hard numbers against marketing performance is music to the ears of both CMOs and CFOs.

Podcast

Why can’t we be friends? Five steps to better relations between CFOs and CMOs

Article narration

To date, however, the reality of marketing analytics has fallen short of the promise. Just 36 percent of CMOs, for example, have successfully used analytics to demonstrate quantitatively the marketing return on investment, or MROI.1 This suggests that nearly two-thirds still rely on qualitative measures or none at all. In fact, a 2012 survey showed that 63 percent of projects do not use analytics to inform marketing decisions.2 And the lack of an analytical approach has contributed to a barrier between marketing and finance—often leading to difficult budgeting conversations. One financial-services CMO told us how CFOs typically perceive his function: “Marketing has a vague status. We’re going to give a certain amount of dollars to those guys. They’re going to make ads and do whatever it is they do. And let’s hope it generates demand.”

To reverse this perception, we believe that CMOs must become true collaborators with CFOs and adopt an MROI approach that’s driven by analytics. The good news is that the same mountains of data that can deliver an array of value-creating insights can also help CMOs demonstrate marketing return on investment at a level of detail that the CFO expects. In our work with clients in dozens of sectors over more than five years, we have found that the strongest CMO–CFO partnerships develop when both parties take five actions: open their books to scrutiny, focus on the metrics that matter, balance short-term and long-term value creation, consider savings as well as spending, and seek opportunities to collaborate.

The opportunity is enormous. In our experience, companies that adopt this marketing-analytics approach can unlock 10 to 20 percent of their marketing budget to either reinvest in marketing or return to the bottom line.

Create an ‘open book’ mind-set

Creating transparency into operations is the starting point for marketing to help CFOs understand where and how value is being gained or lost. CMOs often find it hard to say how much they actually spend—by product, market, or strategic intent, for example, or by activity—on IT, different parts of the purchase funnel, digital and social media, or nonadvertising activities such as sponsorships, promotions, and trade events. It can be challenging because different regions may allocate the same spending to different categories. A trade-fair expenditure might fall into short-term spending in one market, for instance, but long-term brand-building spending in another.

Bringing people and activities into line is essential but seldom easy. Marketing departments are often reluctant to look beyond their own fiefdoms; it’s also time-consuming to align spending categories accurately—and a major task to communicate the value of doing so. An automotive company, for example, held more than a dozen workshops in six months to explain why it mattered and to ensure that the global marketing function clearly understood the value of analytics. The company used this process to develop a common approach for answering the seemingly basic question of why it was spending marketing dollars. For example, was it trying to promote the brand or draw customers into the showroom? Drawing such distinctions makes it easier for any CMO to answer basic questions about where and how marketing dollars are spent—and makes budgeting discussions much more productive.

Focus on the metrics that matter

Ideally, the relationship between the CFO and the CMO needs to function more like a partnership, in which the two explore together the performance that drives shareholder returns. That means CMOs will need to focus on the metrics that are most aligned with corporate business goals, which CFOs can help identify. Typically, these will not be brand awareness, share of voice in the market, or the number of “likes” on Facebook— areas where many currently focus—unless those numbers can be tied to profit. CMOs must demonstrate and track marketing’s impact by focusing on those key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most important for shareholder value such as return on investment, net present value, and operating margins.

Marketing KPIs that don’t directly address shareholder value and the company’s objectives don’t tell the CMO or the CFO where marketing efforts are having the most desired impact. This doesn’t portend an end to the creativity required to touch people’s emotions; it only means plumbing the same reservoirs of data that spark that creativity to better define when and where to target audiences with which messages— and to demonstrate the value in doing so.

In collaboration with the CFO, the CMO can develop a set of objectives that directly contribute to financial objectives and business goals. At the automotive company referred to earlier, for example, the CMO and CFO worked together with their teams to draw up a global set of financial and nonfinancial metrics for the short and long term. Financial metrics would typically include obvious numbers such as sales, return on investment, and cost per customer, while nonfinancial metrics included the number of people visiting dealers or long-term indicators of the health of the brand such as the number of customers considering the brand.

We’ve often found it helpful to create a chart to illustrate how business and financial goals at the top cascade down to marketing KPIs, then to tactics and strategies that can deliver on those KPIs, and finally to those metrics that measure the effectiveness of those strategies or tactics. In practice, marketing KPIs need to incorporate customer-acquisition and retention targets and costs. These metrics can easily be translated back into the company’s top-line or bottom-line performance, which resonates more with the CFO.

Given the complexity of marketing today, it can be difficult to develop metrics that prove categorically that an initiative is working. The metrics still matter in those cases, but what matters more is that the CMO and CFO agree on them.

Balance short-term and long-term value creation

One of marketing’s biggest challenges has always been managing the trade-off between short-term spending to boost sales and longer-term brand building. Econometric analysis can estimate the benefits of different combinations of marketing tactics—so-called marketing-mix modeling (MMM)—and to some extent is effective in helping allocate budget resources. Yet such activities drive only 20 to 40 percent of total sales, and so traditional MMM reflects a small portion of the total value of marketing investments, much of which can be attributed to the harder-to-measure power of the brand. The brand naturally takes much longer to develop, up to five years, but it has far greater staying power than a single piece of advertising.

Long-term brand performance is affected by many factors, which makes measuring the impact of investment challenging and the data harder to unearth. Calculating short-term effects separately from long-term benefits can help managers isolate which marketing activities truly build brand equity. With those calculations in hand, marketers can go to the CFO with the data to inform nuanced decisions about where to put dollars to boost short-term returns or build long-term equity.

Consider one food brand, for example. Marketing managers decided to connect with customers using Facebook advertising bolstered by contests, relevant sponsored blogs, photo-sharing incentives, and shopping-list applications. The approach delivered sales results similar to traditional marketing, including TV advertising and print promotions, at a fraction of the cost. Brand managers, therefore, considered massive cuts to their TV- and print-advertising budgets in favor of spending more on social-media channels. However, when they included long-term effects in their calculations, they realized that the contribution of TV advertising significantly out-paced online displays and social media at delivering the emotional connection needed to build brand equity.

Look at savings as well as spending

The concept of lean has driven tremendous productivity globally, largely by cutting waste and improving efficiency. While the concept’s origins are in manufacturing, it has long been applied in nonmanufacturing settings, including the finance function.3 Most marketing functions would also do well to embrace lean concepts—certainly they would find it worth taking a close look at procurement. Any savings could be invested elsewhere, and the effort would demonstrate responsible stewardship of company resources.

A data-driven approach to procurement isn’t a new concept, though marketers have been slow to embrace it. Something as simple as benchmarking marketing’s spending on external agencies could lead to astonishing cost savings and, once again, the CMO can go to the CFO with solid evidence on budgeting. At one consumer-packaged-goods company, for example, a series of strong brands had evolved in separate silos, each with its own marketing budget. On closer examination, marketing managers discovered the company was spending three times the industry benchmark on coupons, 50 percent more than the industry average on research, and overtesting TV commercials without improving them. It was also using more than four dozen market-research companies to conduct similar tasks. As a result of this insight, the company overhauled its spending on promotions, market research, and advertising, redirecting nearly 20 percent of its marketing budget to more growth-oriented tactics.

Seek opportunities to collaborate

As obvious as it may seem, one way to improve the CMO–CFO relationship is for both parties to recognize that they’re on the same team. CMOs should invite finance to participate in marketing’s planning process to build bridges but also to benefit from financial expertise. Spending time in the same room is a good start. Taking the time to speak with the CFO about the shape of the company and any shifting priorities will allow CMOs to be more attuned to the business and to move more quickly to make adjustments as necessary.

The experience at one global insurance company is illustrative. The company’s CMO found himself under pressure from the board to demonstrate the value of marketing activities—while at the same time, the company’s competitors were massively outspending it, solidifying their “top of mind” position with consumers. He recognized that he needed not only to justify the current marketing budget but also to ensure it was more effective to meet the challenge from competitors.

To build support for his effort, the CMO reached out to other parts of the business, including finance, explained that he wanted to adopt a more investment-oriented approach to marketing, and invited them to support the effort. They agreed on three goals for both the marketing and finance departments: to better clarify the role of marketing to the business, to better inform the analytics with their combined input on the assumptions, and to better understand the results coming out of the analysis. The CFO appointed a representative from finance to join the effort— and the CMO agreed, up front, to discontinue any activities that proved uneconomic.

In the end, the CMO was able to demonstrate quantitatively the impact of marketing on business goals and save his budget. Moreover, in the process of doing so, he developed a tool to show where his next marketing dollar should go and what he could expect in return. This allowed the CMO to follow an investment-oriented approach to marketing decisions, pursuing campaigns and other activities, and it provided the finance department with confidence that marketing was investing wisely.

An analytical approach to marketing may not mean the end of difficult budgeting conversations between the CMO and CFO. But the emergence of marketing-data analytics provides them a new common ground on which to compare notes and achieve a better understanding

50 Attributes of a Great Copywriter

Standard

50 Attributes of a Great Copywriter

 

50 Attributes of a Great Copywriter

Suppose you’re in the market to hire a great copywriter. Suppose you’re in the market to become a great copywriter.  What are the attributes of success? After spending many decades writing, editing and hiring/managing writers, here are 50 attributes of a great copywriter that stand out to me.

What can you add to the list?

1. Curiosity. Writers are like six–year-olds; they always want to know why. Curiosity is the gateway to clarity. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.“

2. Clarity. The difference between a writer and someone who writes is that the former enlightens the reader while the latter confuses the reader.

3. Passion. Further down, I’m putting words like “boring” and “trivial” in quotations because to great copywriters, nothing is boring or trivial if that’s what they’re writing about.

4. Vocabulary. More than just knowing a lot of words, writers must know the nuances of meaning that distinguish, say, notorious from famous.

5. Precision … The devil is in the details of grammar, punctuation and style. From sloppy copywriting, readers infer a sloppy author (i.e., your company).

6. … Without perfectionism. If a writer never says, “Done!” nothing ever gets published.

7.  Diligence. Professionals are expected to work efficiently and meet deadlines. This applies to copywriters and other creative talent.

8.  Ability to multitask. How nice it would be if copywriters could handle one assignment at a time. Unfortunately, in the real world they have to juggle jobs just like everyone else.

9. Focus. To multitask effectively, copywriters need the ability to stay in the moment, focusing entirely on the job at hand. Distractibility diminishes quality.

10. Self-motivation. The manager who motivates a writer to write by screaming, “WRITE!” has yet to be born.

11. Self-editing. Arrogance undermines quality. Great copywriters know when their own ideas stink and treat them accordingly.

12. Versatility of form. Business writing is so much more than articles and web pages; I once described 18 types of odd copywriting jobs. The more of these assignments a writer can handle, the more valuable he or she is to any business or agency or client.

13. Versatility of voice. Some writers master the conversational style; others master the technical or formal (boardroom) style. Those who can move gracefully from one style to another are rare treasures indeed.

14. Versatility of purpose. Some writers are uncomfortable with the concept of a hard sales pitch; other writers are uncomfortable with “boring” assignments. Great writers are uncomfortable with not writing.

15. Consistency of quality. Great copywriters consistently turn in work of high quality, rather than just being great when they feel like it or by chance.

16. Is quick on the uptake. Because of deadlines, copywriters often have to learn on the job and on their own – and quickly.

17. Knows when to stop learning. Being quick on the uptake also means knowing when you know enough to get the job done. Writers who feel the need to know everything before hitting the keyboard never get started.

18. Knows when to ask for help. A writer has two choices: struggle endlessly with a vexing problem or get help from a subject matter expert. The latter option improves speed and accuracy.

19. Knows whom to ask for help. A writer is only as good as the brain trust that surrounds him or her. Choose collaborators wisely. There may be no such thing as a foolish question, but without a doubt, there is such a thing as a foolish answer.

20. Handles criticism professionally. Clients, internal personnel and editors always criticize draft copy. If these people feel they must walk on eggshells when dealing with the writer about edits, morale and productivity suffer mightily.

21. Defends the work. Great writers not only accept and even welcome constructive criticism, they also turn the tables and make a persuasive case for their work. Clients, managers and editors are not always right; an overly compliant writer contributes to mediocre content.

22. Has perspective. On the other hand, great writers don’t make mountains out of molehills. Writers who continually get hung up on small matters of style or approach infuriate coworkers and bosses. 

23. Knows the rules. When it comes to punctuation, grammar and style, writers can’t make it up as they go along. Because both correctness and consistency are important, good writers are familiar with the rules (e.g., AP style) that govern their type of writing.

24. Knows when to violate the rules. Selectively breaking rules is a sophisticated technique for capturing attention. Apple’s “Think Different” campaign succeeded in part by departing from the boring and pedestrian phrase, think differently

25. Uses plain English. Knowing a lot of words is good, but using obscure words is bad. As Stephen King said, “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word.” This is as true for fiction as it is for business copy.

26. Is a master of brevity. Any writer can spew out 1,000 words on a given topic. A great writer condenses the topic down to 300 powerful ones.

27. Knows how to go long. Brevity in business writing, while generally advantageous, is not always so. Certain types of content, such as landing pages for complex products, demand long copy. Again, any writer can spew out 1,000 words of drivel, but it’s the great writer who can compose 1,000 words of irresistible persuasion.

28. Understands the business world. Writers write well about what they know. Thus, a first-rate copywriter understands the business process, customer behavior and basic business concepts such as features and benefits.

29. Anticipates reader questions and concerns. Because great writers understand the business world, they are able to identify probable reactions from the target audience – and address them in the copy. In addition, this knowledge enables them to discard messaging points that are not pertinent. An ounce of anticipation is worth a pound of verbosity.

30. Recognizes gaps and weaknesses in the information or ideas being presented. Business savvy enables great writers to spot flaws in the case they are being tasked to make; their input can be enormously valuable to a firm’s sales and marketing leadership.

31. Plays nice with designers. Business copy is more than just cranked out text. It is an important component of a brochure, web page, slide presentation or some other form heavily influenced by design. Writers and designers must be flexible and patient when working together to hammer out the finished product.

32. Knows SEO. Copywriters need not be SEO experts, but they do need to know the basics of keywords, anchor text structure and a few other details. SEO comes into play in such things as text, headlines, subheads, Meta titles and Meta descriptions.

33. Muscles through writer’s block. Writing when inspiration is lacking is agonizing – in fact, it’s every writer’s nightmare. Great business writers have the ability to crank it out even when ideas are harder to come by than five-sided snowflakes.

34. Tells stories. Today’s content strategies have circled back to perhaps the oldest technique of all, storytelling. The ability to spin yarns is essential for case studies, landing pages, slide presentations, videos and a multitude of other forms.

35. Is observant. Writing without seeing the details is like playing solitaire with a 49-card deck. You can’t win.

36. Listens. Most great writers I know are better at listening than talking – maybe because writers are often introverts by nature. Listening is crucial to many aspects of business, including content creation, because it is the surest way to understand the needs of a company’s leadership and its customers.

37. Takes notes. Relying on memory alone, a writer forgets or misremembers most of what he or shehears and observes.

38. Thinks logically. Most business writing is aimed at influencing action – influencing prospects to buy, customers to stay, investors to invest, etc. Since business decisions are made in part based on compelling arguments, copywriters must be able to lay them out.

39. Writes with emotion. Because business decisions are also based on feelings, writers must be able to provoke an emotional response in many of their assignments. Warm prospects freeze when exposed to cold writing.

40. Reads enthusiastically. Great writers are great readers. Reading is to writers what exercise is to athletes.

41. Reads widely. Versatile and authoritative writers read all sorts of things – newspapers, novels, history, comics, or even washing instruction labels if nothing else is available.

42. Reads deeply. Great writers enjoy mastering a subject. The combination of depth and breadth of reading facilitates the versatility in form and style mentioned above.

43. Isn’t a desk jockey. Great copywriters aren’t just about reading and writing. Instead, they go out into the real world and talk to employees, customers and even competitors. Without this, they lose their feel – or never acquire it.

44. Borrows well. Creative copywriting is often an exercise in recognizing effective content and adapting it to the job at hand. Great writers are discriminating judges of talent.

45. Borrows professionally. Crediting a source in the form of a mention, a link and/or a formal citation is a necessary element of credible and creditable writing.

46. Has a mentor. Exceptional writers almost always speak highly of a teacher, an editor or a writer who inspired and taught them.

47. Is not blunt. Many writers tell it too much like it is. Great writers control this tendency.

48. Is not temperamental. Many writers have mood swings; perhaps this goes with the creative territory. Great copywriters manage this tendency to prevent it from interfering with their work.  

49. Is imaginative. Although in some business situations, imagination may be seen as a negative, employers should not come down too hard on copywriters who appear to be daydreaming or throw out lots of ideas.

50. Possesses a sense of humor. Sylvia Plath and Edgar Allan Poe were brilliant writers, but neither would be particularly effective or happy writing an infomercial script for miracle meat slicers. A lighthearted spirit helps writers plow through “boring” and “trivial” assignments, connect with readers and work well collaboratively.

Over to You

This is quite a long list, but I feel as though I’ve left things out. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure I’ve really captured the essence of a great copywriter in any sense at all. So here are a few questions.

  • What can you add to this list?
  • Are there items here you would remove?
  • What makes you a great writer?
  • What do you look for when hiring a writer?

Categories: Content MarketingHeadline WritingInbound MarketingSocial Media Marketing

3 REASONS TRADITIONAL MARKET RESEARCH IS BECOMING IRRELEVANT

Standard
Research being carried out at the Microscopy l...

Research being carried out at the Microscopy lab of the . This photo was taken on July 28, 2006 using a Nikon D70. For more information about INL’s research projects and career opportunities, visit the lab’s facebook site. http://www.facebook.com/idahonationallaboratory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marketing research interviews and focus groups

Marketing research interviews and focus groups (Photo credit: dmhoro)

focus group dialogue

focus group dialogue (Photo credit: bijoubaby)

English: Mobile marketing research - Methods

English: Mobile marketing research – Methods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Two examples of the T39m, on the left...

English: Two examples of the T39m, on the left is the Classic Blue colour and on the right is the Icecap Blue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey th...

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey that lists Social Media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A protester holding a placard in Tahr...

English: A protester holding a placard in Tahrir Square referring to Facebook and Twitter, acknowledging the role played by social media during the 2011 Egyptian Revolution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On any given day, how many people do you see walking by with a flip phone? A discman? We’ll venture a guess that you’re probably not seeing very many. Technologies have advanced, replacing these once innovative devices with a more efficient, multi-function tool. 

The same can be said about the world of consumer data and its applications in understanding brand health.

Traditionally, companies used focus groups and surveys as their primary research methods. Such practices provided insights into the preferences and behaviors of a brand’s target demographic. That being said, they also presented significant limitations:

  • Bias: Given the small size of focus groups and the regimented manner in which  they are run, participants are often influenced by other participants and  moderators.
  • Unreliable Results: Audience samples are rarely an accurate representation of the larger  target audience.
  • High Costs: Crafting questions, gathering a representative sample, conducting  surveys, and analyzing results… it takes a lot of time and money to  regularly and effectively execute such studies.

Over the past decade, avenues have opened up for more efficient forms of research. Socialmedia technologies have completely changed the way in which consumers perceive, engage, and consume brands. Postcards requesting customer feedback have been replaced with unsolicited endorsements shared on Facebook brand pages. Angry calls to customer service have been replaced with scorching (and public) 140 character tweets. Consumer feedback is now available in real-time at a massive scale, so why would we continue to limit ourselves to surveys and focus groups? It makes sense to harness the power of consumer social media activity to better understand brands.