Category Archives: Marketing & Advertising

How Complementary Marketing Can Empower Your Brand

How Old Spice Harnessed the Power of Complementary Marketing (And What It Means for Your Brand)

It’s easy to feel lost in the complex, brave new world of online marketing, where tweets or search engine results can be as crucial to your success as more traditional media. But never fear—the new school isn’t completely detached from the marketing you already know and love.

In fact, using your digital marketing resources to complement old school approaches can result in huge online successes. By looking closely at Old Spice’s recent and widely-praised major marketing campaign, let’s explore how complementary marketing helps brands navigate advertising in the modern world—and how you can do it, too.

What is complementary marketing?

Simply put, complementary marketing is what you get when the many arms of your marketing and branding work together in harmony. Whether your brand awareness comes from an email list or a broad social media campaign, you’ll be more successful when each component complements and feeds off of every other component. Complementary marketing means taking a look at each part of your marketing and making sure it’s aiming at a common identity.

How is Old Spice using complementary marketing to drive visibility and awareness?

Old Spice recently launched a marketing campaign to introduce their “Fresher” collection of nature-themed scents; each stick of deodorant or bottle of body wash comes packaged with a name like “Coconut” or “Roar.”

To usher in these new and novel scents, they released a series of video advertisements in which muscular men grapple with the complexities of nature while smelling fresh and clean. Armed with their brand’s distinctively edgy sense of humor, the videos poke fun at more traditional ads that evoke ideas of manliness, scientific breakthroughs, or nature to position a product as revolutionary.

These ad spots are hilarious and effective in their own right, but Old Spice’s team didn’t stop there. In addition to the videos, they’ve hijacked the #naturefacts hashtag by composing their own absurd, snarky “facts” about animals that call back to their line of scents. They’ve even rolled out a first-of-its-kind vending machine in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The machine accepts only items from nature, and true to the Old Spice brand, it deposits bizarrely humorous items in return — for example, visitors can exchange ocean water for “all the wadded up cash in a rich guy’s pocket.”

It’s funny—but more importantly, it’s effective. Every piece of Old Spice’s marketing is working toward the same goal of promoting their transition to “nature” themed products; their multifaceted campaign is a perfect example of complementary marketing at work.

How can complementary marketing help your brand?

As we all know well, it’s easy for marketing campaigns to get messy. Sometimes the parts aren’t working in sync. Other times, the overall concept misses its mark, and the brand falls on its face as a result. But no matter your approach, your campaigns will stick in the minds of your target audience best if your various approaches are aligned.

You may look to SEO, social media, print materials, even television ads — but don’t forget to make sure that each of these are bolstering one another. When it comes to marketing, a cohesive whole is always better than the sum of many disparate parts.

On the surface, complementary marketing may seem like just another concept to wrestle with. But fret not: when the elements of your marketing are built to complement one another, you’ll find your message only becomes clearer and more powerful.

4 Clickbait Questions You Were Afraid to Ask—The Answers May Surprise You!

ClickbaitWe’ve all heard whispering and grumbling about the proliferation of clickbait, those irresistible, attention-grabbing headlines that have become an inescapable part of the social media landscape. But where do you draw the line between marketing and something more sinister? Should clickbait-y concepts be a part of your own strategy? We know you’re curious—let’s get right to the answers!

What is Clickbait?

Coined a few years back, “clickbait” is a pejorative term for curiosity-inducing headlines designed to generate as many clicks and shares as possible on social media channels. You know it when you see it—web sites like Upworthy and BuzzFeed made their names with shareable headlines like “What’s One of the Worst Ways to Motivate Someone? Hint: You See It All the Time.

Titles like these beg the reader to click through to reveal the answer or to uncover the supposedly shocking twist. Most of these sites take the bait a step further by suggesting that you share their content, generating likes and conversations on social platforms in the process.

Is Clickbait Actually Effective?

There hasn’t been a lot of empirical research done regarding the efficacy of clickbait-style headlines, but the evidence speaks for itself. In November 2013, Upworthy was outpacing CNN.com with twice their total social shares, even though CNN had twenty-six times the amount of actual content.

Take one look at your own Facebook news feed and you’ll likely spot dozens of shared articles; unsurprisingly, the majority of them have headlines that make you want to cringe and click through all at once. All of the evidence suggests the same thing: clickbait is working, and it’s here to stay.

What’s Wrong with Clickbait?

Detractors have pointed to an influx of low-quality, sloppy content on the other side of the click; some critics have even called clickbait unethical. After all, if the content is good and they’re telling the truth, why do the authors have to “bait” you into viewing it?

Of course, there’s always another side to the story. Content generators must seek out new and novel ways of driving readers to their sites—their business model depends on it. At the end of the day, no one is forcing users to share, click, or “like” anything. It’s an organic process, often more of an art than a science, and the best writers at Upworthy have discovered effective methods of funneling users toward their articles—what’s wrong with that?

Should I Be Writing Clickbait-y Headlines?

There’s no catchall answer. Rather, the strategies you utilize should derive organically from the content itself. As Neil St. Clair, writing for Forbes Magazine, puts it, “[clickbait as a marketing tactic is] neither right nor wrong; it’s simply a matter of your business model and audience.” An austere, self-serious publication like The New York Times doesn’t rely on sensational headlines because it doesn’t mesh with their identity; likewise, the fun-loving BuzzFeed depends on clicks and shares to survive, and they have no qualms about using headlines that have been proven to succeed.

There you have it: clickbait-inspired titles are everywhere you look in today’s online world, and this particular trend shows no signs of slowing down. Content generators continue to value these headlines because they’ve been effective at grabbing social media readers’ attention in the past.

But that doesn’t mean you have to use them yourself just to keep up—that will depend on your own unique goals. Sometimes just knowing what you’re up against is the best place to start.

Innovative Marketing Ideas for 2015

Marketing Ideas

 

Do Something Different: 3 Marketing Ideas for 2015

As you and your team enter 2015 with a new marketing push, don’t be afraid to think a bit outside the box. While tried and true directions may feel safe, the world is changing faster than ever, and those who aren’t ready to ride the latest trends may soon get swept under by them.

Instead, consider exploring a new direction to make a big splash in the new year. Here are three innovative, disruptive, and forward thinking campaigns to inspire your productive brainstorming sessions.

 

1. 3D Print Your Products… Or Your Consumers

You probably know that 3D printing is one of the hottest trends in the tech space, so it was only a matter of time before the marketing departments sunk their teeth into the new possibilities.

British retailor John Lewis has started printing miniature sofa models for consumers to interact with. Besides pretending they’re towering giants, shoppers can place the mini-furniture on a smart table that brings a digital model on-screen, where users can customize a couch with chosen fabrics and designs.

Meanwhile, UNIQLO is printing its shoppers, enabling consumers to 3D print selfies of themselves wearing the brand’s threads, and all for a good, selfless cause.

 

2. Crowdsource Inspiration Like Coca-Cola China

Technology has made it infinitely easier to share ideas, content, and polished products—which is exactly why more and more marketers are turning to crowdsourcing for user-generated content.

Consider Coca-Cola China’s recent campaign on crowdsourcing platform eYeka, asking users to describe the ineffable taste of Coke with a video.

“If you had to explain to an alien who has never tried it before,” the brief asks, “which particular element of the Coke taste experience would you talk about, and what creative expression would you show him to get him to crave a sip of that Coke taste?”

Sounds like a fun exercise and a brilliant marketing campaign! Not only does crowdsourcing engage consumers on a creative, emotional level, it also allows the best concepts to rise to the top.

 

3. Finally Monetize Your Social Media Following

Social media marketing has been on the rise for years, but the question in the back of every marketer’s mind has always been, “what’s the real return on investment?” Was it really worth all those tireless hours to earn a few thousand followers? It sure was.

Twitter recently released a new buy button that lets users make purchases directly from tweets, and soon plan to let brands use a new offer button showcasing Groupon-style savings deals. While social media promotions may be getting easier, we still don’t recommend inundating your followers with ads—that’s a sure-fire way to get your brand blocked.

Get a little adventurous in 2015—a little walk on the wild side can really pay off.

3 Key Ingredients to Your Perfect B2B Event

While videoconferences are a modern marvel—minus the occasional screen-freeze that inevitably catches you mid-yawn—nothing beats an in-the-flesh event.

Whether it’s a major conference like TechWeek and South by Southwest, a niche trade show that zeroes in on your industry, an instructive workshop, illuminating panel discussion, or celebratory gala, events are one of the best parts of doing business.

For B2B professionals, that’s nothing revolutionary; we’re preaching to the choir: events are the single biggest line items in B2B marketing budgets, taking up a hearty 20% of the pie, according to a recent report from Forrester.

Why Events?

Why do companies feel compelled to spend so much on live events? Put simply, they work. Events enable both brands and individuals to raise their profiles, attract new business, and extend their network.

Though online interactions are stock-and-trade nowadays, there are too many digital distractions to totally capture your audience’s attention. A face-to-face event gives you to opportunity to actively engage your clients, consumers, and partners, showcasing your brand in living color.

Perhaps the greatest reason events are so important is that they allow us to forge relationships. As much as business is about figures, margins, and efficiency, it’s also about connections, respect, and trust. Events give us a chance to meet, great, and entertain outside of our everyday confines.

How to Ensure Your Event’s a Success

Attending events is a blast, but planning events? Not so much. They’re difficult, complex, and, yes, expensive. If your event’s a dud, that’s a big chunk of change down the drain. Here are three simple essentials your event needs to make it worth your while.

1.    Deliver Value. You’ve got to give your attendees of real value—and we don’t just mean a goodie bag of branded swag. Your presentations shouldn’t just be a sales pitch—it should be framed as useful information to make your attendees’ lives easier. Provide plenty of opportunities for them to make their own strategic connections, even if it doesn’t directly benefit you. Let them actively participate and say a little about their own offerings.

2.    Develop a Plan. Yes, your event shouldn’t just be a blatant sales pitch, but the purpose still is to generate interest, close sales, and bump up your bottom line. Have a clear plan in place that dictates how you’ll collect leads, convert prospects, and—to put it bluntly—make your money back.

3.    Invite the Right Crowd. An animal rights non-profit might not be the best audience to invite to your leather and fur expo. Don’t just extend invitations to everyone you know; target your most receptive audience as much as possible. It’s far better to get third-, forth-, and fifth-degree connections right up your alley than your immediate network without as much interest. Think scalpel, not shotgun.


How a Strong Mission Helps B2B Companies Capitalize on Employee Advocacy

Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy isn’t exactly a new idea: when your workers are truly engaged and excited about your company, they act as powerful brand ambassadors outside the office and can create a tremendous impact.

From generating new leads, to forging powerful partnerships, to spreading brand awareness, only good things can come from employees personally buying into your business. Think of it as an organic, low-cost marketing effort that can easily get your employees’ networks buzzing about your company, your offerings, and most importantly, your mission.

But wait… what if you don’t have a mission?

How B2B Companies Can Transcend Business

For B2B companies that don’t appeal to the everyday consumer, inspiring employees to advocate on the brand’s behalf might seem like a pipe dream. Sure, it’s easy for the guys at Google to tell their friends about how great the search engine giant is—but who wants to hear about paper supply over cocktails?

That’s where a mission comes in. Human beings love, dream, hope, laugh, and care; we long to be part of something bigger than ourselves—something that matters. A strong mission can unite your team, instill loyalty, and engender endless advocacy.

Maybe your mission can come straight from your offerings, like an educational resource provider that aims to help all children learn, grow, and achieve through their products. Or perhaps it’s a separate initiative, like a paper supply company that saves the planet by using recycled materials and planting new trees together on the weekends.

No matter what path you choose, when your company adopts a meaningful mission, it’s almost impossible to keep the good word from spreading.

How Technology Is Changing the Game

While employee advocacy and missions are nothing new, thanks to new technologies, their impact has never been greater: with the explosion of social media, it’s exceedingly easy for employees to tap into their networks and amplify your brand’s message.

Most people in your organization are on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter (just to name a few) with hundreds of friends, family members, and business partners only a click away. (E.g., the average 25-43 year old on Facebook has 360 friends!)

The possibilities are literally exponential. If even one person shares a branded piece of content on LinkedIn, 100 new connections might see it; if those contacts like or share the content in turn, suddenly thousands are learning about your company, your offerings, and most importantly, your mission.

Inspiring Advocacy

Beyond spreading brand awareness and drumming up new business, putting your mission on center stage engages your employees and dramatically impacts productivity. Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by an astonishing 202%.

An inspiring mission means your company is about more than “just business.” It brings your team together and transforms everyone into a well-connected advocate trumpeting your message and inspiring others.

That’s not just good for business; it’s good for the world.

Author: Paul Wry

Privacy Invasion or Personalization: Has Digital Marketing Gone Too Far?

Privacy vs Personalization

Privacy Invasion or Personalization: Has Digital Marketing Gone Too Far?

Mark Zuckerberg’s social network just put the face in the Facebook: the company’s new facial-recognition software uses futuristic artificial intelligence to identify faces almost as accurately as humans.

While the A.I. isn’t being used yet, it is stirring up fears about potential invasions of privacy. The hyper-accurate software could one day be used by marketers to track users in public and display targeted ads in the real world, sort of like the holographic spokespeople in Minority Report. If spam annoys you now, imagine having it follow you everywhere.

This is just the latest advance in the ongoing trend of personalization. As technology progresses and we become ever more digitally dependent, marketers are gathering more and more info on consumers, scraping personal data and online history to deliver targeted ads. But is it an unwelcome invasion or valuable marketing tool? Perhaps both.

Privacy vs. Personalization

On the face of it (pardon the pun), targeted ads seem like a win-win.  Consumers see ads that they’re actually interested in (e.g., teenagers probably aren’t considering reverse mortgages, nor will retirees appreciate that Taylor Swift’s new single is now available on iTunes). At the same time, advertising dollars are used more efficiently than ever, raising ROI to unprecedented levels and lowering the barrier of entry for startups and small businesses.

And yet, at the same time, it’s hard not to feel a little creeped out. Gmail reads through all of my personal emails to serve me relevant ads. The reader may be an impersonal algorithm, but it feels like voyeurism all the same. 

The Debate Rages On

In the battle between privacy and personalization, it’s difficult to say who’s winning: Google recently stopped scanning students’ Gmail activity in an attempt to preserve privacy, yet Yahoo just decided to disregard users’ “Do Not Track” settings in the name of personalized experience.

While it seems inevitable that digital markets will continue to encroach on personal data, it’s public debates like this that rein in Google and Facebook from becoming Big Brother.

I believe there’s a middle path. Personalization is a great boon for advertising and enhancing user experience; it seems naïve to think we’ll backpedal at this point. As personal data continues to grow exponentially, digital markets must proceed ethically and strive to honor transparency, privacy, and respect.

Author: Daniel Gordon

How Social Media Advertising is Changing Everything

In 2013’s Super Bowl XLVII, a surreal blackout put the nation’s most fanatically watched game on hold for what seemed to be an eternal half hour. In the midst of the chaos, Oreo posted the below tweet. It earned half a billion impressions and was named by Adweek as one of the top 5 ads of the night. Most astoundingly, it was the only one placed for free.

During the 2014 Academy Awards, host Ellen DeGeneres jumped into the star-studded audience and took the below selfie. As she predicted, it broke Twitter (disrupting service for an interminable 20 minutes) and gained the most retweets in history. In reality, the move was a not-so-subtle publicity stunt for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3.

What do these social media “ads” have in common? And what can they tell us about the future?

Timely, Fun, & Friendly

First, both were triggered by massive events. Social media travels at light-speed, with trends, topics, and memes flitting in and out of existence in mere instants. Brands who can jump on hot news get rewarded.
Second, both were fun, playful, and unexpected—fortuitous moments you couldn’t wait to share with your friends.

Finally, both come off as rather non-promotional—they don’t hit you over the head with a “buy me!” message. They play it cool and friendly, allowing the sales message to seep in subconsciously.

Monetizing Social Media

Today, Facebook—with its mind-boggling 1.3 billion monthly users—is the preferred platform for B2C advertisers, with smart algorithms that weave targeted ads into ordinary storylines and updated from loved ones.

Twitter is close behind and poised to release 15 new types of ads in the coming weeks. These new features, many designed for Twitter’s mobile app, are eliminating barriers between social networks and commerce. One tap can put an interested user directly on a call with a sales rep. Eventually, users will likely be able to make purchases directly from the platform.

But brands are also turning to Pinterest, Instagram, and even lesser known platforms like Snapchat to gain exposure—though the social network that turned down a $3 billion buyout from Facebook has yet figure out how to monetize ads.

The Shape of Ads to Come

The bottom line? We fully anticipate seeing the rising tide of social media advertising race toward its inevitable pinnacle.

But will these ads resemble their 20th century counterparts? Not at all. This represents a fundamental shift in the way brands and consumers connect. Rather than static pitch and purchase, ads of the future will launch responsive, interactive dialogue.

Nor is this change limited to business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions—B2B brands have been expanding beyond LinkedIn, with 85% using Twitter and 81% using Facebook to distribute content, according to a recent CMI report. While B2C companies tend to entertain, B2B brands inform, offering valuable insights over social media and establishing authority in the process.

Social media pushes both types of companies to speak with their prospective customers, rather than at them. Brands will continue to get more skilled at conversation as sell, and the world will be better for it.

Author: Paul Wry