Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Skeptical Digital Natives

Millennials have been labeled “Digital Natives.” Nielsen reports that 62% own a smartphone. According to eMarketer, close to 90% of the class of 2016 will own a smartphone by the time they graduate. They also conveyed Millennials attitudes are shifting – they are becoming more and more skeptical towards mobile ads.

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Take a walk on any college campus this fall and you will observe “Digital Natives” surgically attached to their mobile phones. They are constantly engaging with friends via phone or text messaging, plus accessing the internet for information (everything from related class work, products/pricing, events, etc.). Thanks to the increased computing power, portability and affordability of smartphones (including tablets); mobile devices have gained popularity versus lugging around laptops. Mobile marketers recognize campuses are representative of what our future mobile world will look like. Consequently they are constantly testing creative mobile advertising. However, to their surprise they are running into some resistance, a new breed of Millennials I label as “Skeptical Digital Natives.” A study at one major Midwestern university indicated that close to 7 out of 10 students were annoyed by mobile ads. The primary ads fielded were text ads at 72.4%, followed by ads linked to the internet 36.6%. Overall, in addition to being annoyed, 44.2% of the respondents indicated they were less likely to purchase products/services. Sounds like a great marketing challenge. “Skeptical Digital Natives” solutions:

1. Fun, engaging videos, with bomb CTAs (call to actions) that students will share.

2. Instant redeemable coupons.

3. Personalized email. According to the latest Mobile Email Opens Report for the first half of 2012, the number of emails opened on mobile devices reached 36 percent, up from 27 percent since the second half of 2011. They project that the open rates will jump to 50 percent within one year and will eventually reach a point where mobile email opens will exceed desktop email opens.

4. Incorporate a gamification element like SCVNGR.

Your mobile marketing solutions welcomed.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Maverick Marketer

 “Taking the old and doing it smarter, better and faster.”  – Sergio Zyman (former Coca Cola CMO who was responsible for the launch of New Coke)

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Digital technologies are transforming business; corporations are struggling to adapt.  In my last post, Pop Labels I pointed out that digital marketing and social media experts are publishing articles claiming that traditional marketing and sales initiatives no longer work.  Au contraire!  All along, I have been advocating hybrid marketing, the ability to balance new and classic strategies.  That is why I chose to share this morning, words of wisdom from Sergio Zyman that I first heard back in the 90’s.  A simple, relevant statement that continues to validate my thoughts as it relates to hybrid marketing.  Accordingly, the real winners moving forward will be business leaders that embrace hybrid marketing, a new breed I label Maverick Marketers.  Detailed below are the characteristics of a Maverick Marketer.
1.    Reinvention is their mantra.  They are informed, thus are constantly experimenting with new digital marketing tools as they are being introduced.  Maybe traditional print advertising is on the decline, but they understand that a QR code if properly executed in conjunction with print is a future tool that further engages consumers.  In addition, Maverick Marketers recognize we now live in a “mobile first world”  – people are now consuming their favorite magazines via smartphones or tablets.  Consequently, they understand the potential of mobile optimized banner ads and geo-location intercept strategies/tactics.
2.    They take time out to think.  Maverick marketers will slow down to the speed of thought while everyone else is drowning in their sensory overload.  They are focused and will do the work that matters most – work that is original/creative versus the same old thing; work that entails experimentation.  Their end result will be execution.  Old adage: “It is not about out smarting the competition, it is all about out executing the competition.”
3.    Relationship capitalists.  When it comes to networking, Maverick Marketers are social by nature.  They will build their community one committed person at a time; they value quality over quantity.  Pam Alexander, former CEO of Alexander Ogilvy once said:  “Relationships are the most powerful form of media.”
Now I know some of you reading this post are asking yourself: Wasn’t New Coke one of the biggest marketing blunders of all time?  Correct!  However Sergio was also responsible for the successfully launching Diet Coke two years before New Coke.
Are you ready to become a Maverick Marketer?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pop Labels

Bill Lee’s August HBR Blog network post Marketing is Dead provoked some interesting online debate.  I advocate traditional marketing is alive and well, but needs to be utilized in conjunction with new digital strategies.  Long live hybrid marketing, the balance of classic and new strategies.  Case in point: Pop Labels.  

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Bill is the leader of Lee Consulting, as well as an author/speaker, a renowned expert in customer engagement.  He contends, traditional marketing (advertising, PR, branding, etc.) is dead. Consequently people in traditional marketing roles are operating within a dead paradigm.  Why?  According to Bill, the buyer’s decision journey has morphed, thanks to today’s social media dominate environment.  He then provides insight on what the new marketing model should look like.  Two important elements:

·         Community Oriented Marketing – Companies need to position their social media initiatives to build networks where buyers share information that influences purchasing decisions.

·         Rock Stars – Companies need to identify key influencers within these communities that have clout; people who are advocates for the solutions a company is marketing.

I agree the Internet, especially social media is playing a major role in American consumerism, a topic I first addressed back in January, MOT (the Moment of Truth).  However, thanks to my marketing background, I still believe you cannot entirely discard classic marketing strategies.  Strategies that influence the First Moment of Truth (FMOT), the instant consumers are actually in-store ready to purchase a product.  Labeling, a classic marketing strategy, will always be a key influencer at FMOT.  Therefore, I challenge Bill Lee’s assertion that Marketing is Dead.   

My alma mater, the Campbell Soup Company will be implementing this month a hybrid marketing movement that demonstrates my point.  September marks the 50th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s fame exhibition in Los Angeles of “32 Campbell Soup Cans.”  Available exclusively at Target stores while supplies last, Campbell’s will be promoting four limited-edition cans with labels that reflect Warhol’s pop-art style.  In addition, Campbell’s has set up a Facebook movement  I conducted a quick Twitter search #Warhol, #Campbell’s and discovered a long stream of buzz about Pop Labels, a perfect example of the benefit of balancing classic and new, digital marketing strategies.

Andy Warhol once said: "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."  Thanks to hybrid marketing, the Campbell Soup Company will savor more than 15 minutes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Card Collectors

Summer is officially behind us.  So are a majority of the annual conferences in the food industry.  Industry peers, have you collected a lot of cards this year?  More importantly, when was the last time you engaged with someone whose card you collected?

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Observation: People networking at conferences are good at collecting cards, but on the whole, they are not are not good at engaging.  What is engagement?  Asking that second or third question to drill down and find out more about the other individual’s work, family, pet llama, special interests, etc.  More importantly, listening!  Engagement also entails following up to solidify the connection, to lay the foundation for what will be a sustainable relationship.  Engagement is an ongoing process.  Engagement takes commitment. 

My point?  As an advocate of LinkedIn, I believe it has evolved into one huge online conference where people are making connections daily.  However, they are exhibiting the behavior of a card collector, only concerned about numbers versus forging sustainable relationships in their professional network.  I do know that some of you reading this post will disagree with me, but I am going to challenge you.  When was the last time you engaged with someone you connected with on LinkedIn as far back as back as 2010?  How about 2011?

Are you a card collector or do you enjoy “The Art of Engagement?”  Let me know.  Let’s engage.