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If the latest CMO Council study translates into dollars, 2009 will be about five percent better for internet advertising than 2008. Last week was filled with analysts making downward adjustments to this year's internet ad spend outlook, but the more forward-looking CMO study is more optimistic. Consistent, but optimistic.
Specifically, the 650 CMOs surveyed said unanimously that they plan to cut or hold steady on traditional ad spend in TV, print, and radio. 43 percent of them plan to increase spending on interactive and web media by up to five percent this year, and 30 percent will increase internet budgets more than five percent. Last week Bernstein Research put internet ad growth at 5.9 percent after predicting more than 16 percent just five months ago.
His fans know him as "Fitty." Call him whatever you want, but the ex-con turned rapper and pitchman has established a brand among the 15-to-35 year-old internet content user. Two of 50 Cent's allied brands are claiming to have scored big numbers by attaching his name to peer-to-peer (P2P) related content.
The brands were Glaceau's Vitaminwater Formula 50 and Right Guard's Pure 50, a deodorant. Both brands worked with Brand Asset in 2008 to attach search results to branded content which could then be shared with other users. The results were reported at Wednesday's P2P Market Conference in New York City. Both campaigns generated click-through rates over 4 percent and post-click engagement times of more than two minutes. Better yet, the campaigns were tied to legit content, linked from paid keywords. No illegal file sharing issues, which so often go along with P2P shared content, and no intellectual property disputes.
Face it, no one likes their phone company. But a new study shows progress toward closing the gap between "my phone company" and "my arrrgggghhh phone company." That gap is closing online, and Verizon is winning.
Go figure. A recent J.D. Power survey shows that only 27% of smartphone users are satisfied with their phone service. But in this area of great opportunity the effectiveness of online customer service solutions is playing a bigger role in customer satisfaction, retention and growth.
Companies planning a social media launch, upgrade, or even adjustment have a lot to live up to. Innovation has been impressive so far this year, and results have kept brands focused on making their own imprint.
Like most areas of internet marketing best practices are evident for social media, but rules are unwritten. As planning for the fourth quarter gets underway, many companies are starting their first social media initiative, or rethinking their entire strategy. Before you hit "send" on that meeting request or book the WebEx URL, five points to consider:
Hit "reset" and forget everything you've read about Tim Armstrong leaving Google for AOL. Take a leap of faith and believe he was not brought in to take the company public on its own, or paint this house and then sell it to another media company. Armstrong at AOL makes sense on many levels. From TimeWarner CEO Jeff Bewkes' point of view, this is a logical hire to keep AOL within the company and connect its fate to TimeWarner's myriad content brands.
Bewkes has been through a few top dogs at AOL. One, Jon Miller, came in with a very impressive resume on the ecommerce and entertainment content lines. His strategy did not drive revenue. Now Bewkes is looking at a company that has media assets occupying very different stages of their lifecycles. Movies and cable are still prime. One of the most troubling assets is a huge stack of print magazines of varying profitability and viability. Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, and even the flagship Time have had a tough time maintaining readership and revenue. Readers have moved online, but TW has cut too many deals to make the internet a value-add for print sales. Revenue migration has lagged.
If there's a bastion of stodgy business thought, it's McKinsey & Company, where deep consulting reports have long ridden the leading edge of globalization, innovation, and management thought.
McKinsey has never been exactly dialed in to online innovation...until now. Without much fanfare, McKinsey has embraced social media, making it safe for MBAs around the world to tweet and retweet.
Customers are not happy. And unless you are an ultra-high end brand, they're checking out of their attachment with you...and telling each about it via social media channels.
Those are some of the results of the PeopleMetrics second annual Customer Engagement Report. It shows that when it comes to value and emotional connection, one man's search result is another man's luxury suite. According to the survey, consumers connect emotionally to brands that provide value, and that emotional connection has dropped 15% over 2007.
The online ad business was worse than thought last year, and it will be worse than projected this year. Brighter days will have to wait until 2010, according to recent data updates.
The first comes from Barclays Capital, which had already checked in with bad news last December. Over the past year the investment bank has gone from predicting 16 percent online ad spend growth (October report) to a six percent rise (December) and now pegs online ad spending calls for a 2.3 percent increase over last year to $23.7 billion. This joins recent reports from Bernstein Research's prediction that global online ad spend will grow only 5.9 percent, and Veronis Suhler's call of 4.9 percent
Back in the days when OffTrack Betting was popular in New York City, the ad tagline said "bet with your head, not over it." It may be uncool to say, but eBay's recent conservative retrenching is a solid strategy. A little boring, maybe, but at least the company is betting with its head.
CEO John Donahoe told a group of analysts Wednesday that the company is going to focus on its original mission, which is ecommerce auction. No more eBay Express. No more plans to compete with Amazon for the overall ecommerce business. Donahoe was roundly trashed in the blogosphere. While it might not spike its short term stock price, it's the right move. With Skype and PayPal in its tent, eBay is positioned to play very well in the most active markets. It has communication infrastructure, payment infrastructure, and auction infrastructure. Right now anyway, no one is a serious threat to that trifecta.
Lot of talk this week about who owns the digital marketing customer. Brands and ad agencies claim they own the customer's data. More than a few panelists at Thursday's Digiday sessions said that if the customer is paying a network or site for interaction privileges at that moment, then that site owns the customer. To all those who say they can own the customer, here's a newsflash: no one owns the customer.
Nor does anyone rent the customer or loan a customer. Any company that thinks they can own the customer, or the customer's data, or the customer's digital experience, has a weird type of business neuroticism. That neurosis might be best cured through a little reality therapy. The reality is, customers may pay you time, attention, and revenue, but they give you no more than that. The goal of internet marketing is to create the opportunities for that attention and revenue.
A concordance of today's Digiday Mobile conference would show the most often used phrase as "not fully baked." But despite the business models and infrastructure issues that still need time to mature, mobile marketing is progressing toward a brand-driven future.
With a new major Dockers iPhone campaign breaking tomorrow, the conference provided some insight as to the profile of brands that are consistently engaged in mobile campaigns of some kind. Whether it's SMS text, WAP sites, banners, or proprietary apps, the brands involved are impressive. Adidas, Nike, Coke, Paramount, P&G, and most every other major brand were either involved in or planning a mobile campaign, according to the agencies assembled. Razorfish's emerging media VP Terri Walter told the conference that it handles more than 200 mobile clients and AdMob handles 200 a month.
Ford's social media director Scott Monty might have thought he was off to a safe start with a little audience participation during a recent conference presentation. "How many people here," he asked, "have ever driven a Ford?" Most of the audience raised their hand. "Now how many of you would buy one?"
And the room froze like a rusted carburetor. "That's the problem," he said.
The solution? Part of it is in a social media program that Monty believes will restore some of Ford's lost "humanity" as a brand and continue to put some distance between Ford and the two other Detroit carmakers, Chrysler and GM. "Somewhere along the line," said the company's digital and multimedia content manager, "we lost our personality. We can gain it back with social media."