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21 posts from March 2012

30 March 2012

User experience as breakfast cereal: An infographic

Strictly speaking, this isn't an infographic in the purest sense. But it's Friday afternoon and I like a visual media gag as much as the next person. Probably one for the digital and IT teams though...

Cereal UXe

Social Media World Forum

I managed to get myself out of the sun and into the Social Media World Forum (or for the Twitterers amongst you, #smwf) this week and I’m certainly glad I did. The atmosphere was, unsurprisingly, very sociable and in fact quite refreshing. It was good to see that those who delve into the world of social media could mingle in the offline world just as well as they do online.

For the most part of the event, there was one predominant theme; consumer engagement. Regardless of platform or business type, it was made clear that in order to build on a brand successfully, consumer engagement was essential. Effective engagement with customers is about enabling contacts, understanding a customer’s context, delivering rich and relevant content and communicating with the consumer on all available points. With the rise in social media, communicating on all channels may be seen by brands as a challenge. The Forum highlighted that this should no longer be looked at as a challenge, and considered more of an opportunity.

Linking the different social media channels is possibly the biggest way to grasp this opportunity with both hands. And though the quantitative data can provide key ways to measure volume, measurements aren’t just about figures and facts. In one track, a speaker asked whether anybody in the room had studied story telling. Three people out of around 100 put their hands up. The point he was trying to make, to a room full of confused faces, was that in order to grasp the opportunities that come with social media, companies need to invest in people who are able to communicate, sometimes in less than 140 characters. 

Yes, objectives need to be met and targets need to be set, but ultimately brands need to invest time in communication; that includes reading what people really think about a product or investment. For some consumers, social media is the only direct access they can get to the brand. And for this reason, as time consuming as it can be, social media requires constant engagement and direction. In order to progress, a relationship needs to be built and social media has paved the way to make it easier to connect.

I am a firm believer in the benefits of social media for commercial use, but I do believe that communication is key to ensure the channel is used properly. It is a great way to spread a message across a wide surface, but rather than simply building awareness, brands need to focus on their existing followers and fans to encourage the best possible outcomes.

 

London_media_-468x68CREAM

 

29 March 2012

The Mobile Advantage: An infographic

 

Mobile-advantage-infographic

The danger of reducing fees

by Chris Merrington

If you don’t increase your fees, prices or rates each year then this is the equivalent to reducing your fees each year. I come across many companies which haven’t increased their rates or fees for 3, 4 even 5 years, and one that hadn’t increased their fees for 13 years.

Your fees and rates are probably under more pressure than ever. It is highly likely you are not charging high enough fees compared to the value that your client derives. Many businesses under-charge in relation to the end result the client enjoys. It is easy to come down in price and much harder to go up. There are specific strategies that will help you hold and even increase your fees whether in tough times or normal times.

Take time to prepare for price discussions and never apologise for your price or fee. The first person you need to sell your price to is...YOU. Say your price slowly, clearly and confidently.

What is your pricing strategy? Or do you just charge the ‘market rate? Or cost plus a mark up? If you have on-going relationships with your client then the price you charge your client in 2012 will largely dictate the price you will be charging that same client in 2013, 2014 and even 2015. You are not just providing a price today! Today’s price has long term implications for your pricing for that client.

If you under-price to a client you will lose in three different ways!

Reduced revenue on this sale
Reduced revenue on subsequent sales to this client
Your relationship will be adversely affected and your confidence will be knocked.

Don’t immediately believe clients when they tell you that you are expensive. Often it is a knee-jerk reaction by them designed to elicit a price reduction in response. It is part of your client’s job to challenge your price. It is part of your job to know how to respond to that challenge.

Do you say ‘yes’ too readily? Your preparedness to say ‘no’ will substantially increase your ability to hold and increase your fees. The challenge is to ‘disagree without being disagreeable’. 

What are the dangers of not increasing your fees? Firstly as your costs increase unless you are finding ways to work more efficiently, your profitability will decline  the client will think you are weak and your self-belief will decline. In a year’s time it will be a bigger problem unless you take action now. Morale in your business is likely to decline as teams which work on unprofitable clients are often de-motivated.
There are dangers associated with increasing your fees. You may put your fees under the spotlight with the client and may prompt the client to price compare and benchmark you. You could lose a client.
So only increase your fees if four conditions are fulfilled; you are delivering immense value, are highly differentiated, provide outstanding results and offer true expertise.

Generally the best place to start if you want to increase your fees is with new clients. Test out a higher rate and gauge their reaction. Increase your fee when you have recently won some new business and you are feeling more bullish.

With existing clients you must increase fees on a regular basis i.e annually. Increase fees with existing clients, one at a time. Start with your least profitable client and increase their fees. Choose your timing carefully. There never is a right time to increase fees. There are just some times which are better than others.

Chris Merrington is author of "Why Do Smart People Make Stupid Mistakes?" and owner of Spring 80:20 Ltd.

27 March 2012

Print is dead

His-girl-friday

Last weekend, I caught a rerun of His Girl Friday on TV. For anyone that hasn’t seen this classic movie, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell play two fast talking, wise cracking newspaper reporters whose love-hate relationship plays out against the background story of a murder case. The power of newspaper front pages is largely played for laughs, although the influence of the printed headline in the film’s life or death situation is unequivocal.

Obviously this state of affairs doesn’t exist today. Outside of tabloid scandals, newspapers now rarely break the news. Those that are still worth reading have turned their attention to analysis and comment, with the printed medium just one element of the news media company portfolio. This was brilliantly expressed in the Guardian’s recent Three Little Pigs film about open journalism.

Despite this shift in the role printed media plays in the modern news landscape, its importance as a method of communication, diversion, education, therapy and talent development is still beyond doubt - at least that’s the argument put forward by Ink-Global in this short video poem, The Journey, about the future of print.

One could argue then, that the future of print is a moot point, and if I was being cynical I would probably accuse The Journey of resting its entire argument on the fact that print will survive as people have to switch off their electronic devices during take-off and landing on an aeroplane. This is perhaps natural due to Ink-Global’s role as a provider of in-flight media.

The Journey, written & directed by David Bowden @ The Garden Studios

Putting my well-honed cynicism to one side however, The Journey is actually quite a rousing paean to the virtues of the printed word in its purest form, when ink hits paper and not just text on back lit touch-screens.

26 March 2012

Kraft’s ‘Mondelez’ Risqué in Russian

Kraft
News

Kraft Foods announced the new name of their snack foods spin off last week. Kraft’s Chief marketing Officer described it as “interesting, unique and captur[ing] a big idea."

‘Mondelez’ is said to evoke worldwide deliciousness. If we break the word down, monde means "world" in French, and delez, with a long E in the final syllable, is a play on "delish". But according to Russian speakers, when pronounced "mohn-dah-LEEZ," the name has different connotations.

Certain Russian speakers have claimed that the new name sounds like a term for an oral sex act in Russian.

Leading Russian professor, Irwin Weil, has confirmed that it's a vulgar term. He states "There is a rather vulgar word, 'manda' (манда́). [Mondelez] includes the sound of that word." The second half of the name roughly translates to the act of licking, say Russian speakers.

Behind The News

Kraft has a growing presence in Russia, targeting women with their products. This situation illustrates one of the challenges of applying a single name across numerous countries and cultures.

The name was suggested by Kraft employees and went through all the necessary procedures in testing; comprising two rounds of focus groups in 28 languages, including Russian. The results of the test concluded there was a low risk of misinterpretation in any language.

The name is yet to be fully approved. Shareholders will have the final word on the matter when they meet on 23rd May.

 

22 March 2012

Discounted Tickets to the Social Media World Forum for Cream Readers

Some businesses are missing out on potential interactions because they are not leveraging the power of social media. Integration on various platforms should work to promote the brand and next week’s European edition of Social Media World Forum, London 27-28th March, aims to examine the best ways to do this. Cream is a media partner for the event which features over 100 leading speakers in the digital marketing arenas, from Kevin Mathers, Head of Media Solutions at Google to Dan Patton, VP Digital Media at MTV UK and Ireland. Seminars and workshops cover social shopping, brand engagement and social TV for manufacturers and platform providers.

As Cream is a media partner to the Forum, Cream readers can benefit from a 15% discount on tickets at http://www.socialmedia-forum.com/europe/register/workshop-pass by entering the discount code CREAM15. 

Find more details about the event at http://www.socialmedia-forum.com/europe/

 See more innovative social media campaign case studies on Cream here.

London-track-sociashopping

The ABC of DCO: A guide to Dynamic Creative Optimisation

The Why and How of Dynamic Creative Optimisation

It is pretty common knowledge that dynamic display advertising and creative optimisation (DCO) technologies can boost campaign performance.  Technology is enabling marketers to reach the right person at the right time with increasing effectiveness.  Many case studies show an increase in CTR well above 100% vs. non-personalised creative, and decreases in cost metrics of 60 – 70%.

But in addition to more click-throughs and conversions, DCO can engage the viewer providing an added level of confidence in online advertising and even potentially a competitive advantage for the publisher.  For example, the Guardian recently announced more targeted marketing on its website with promotions for its dating service Soulmates and holiday deals tailored based on user behaviour.

IphoneChris Lawson, the Guardian's content sales and marketing director, said: "If we know someone is a new customer that has never visited the site before, is promoting a subscription to our iPhone app to them as relevant as pointing it to someone that's been on the site 25 times? Of course it's not. This is about trying to show users the most relevant offers so they get the most useful experience from our site."
The company hopes the strategy will be a driver in helping digital revenues double to nearly £100m by 2015.

How does DCO work?

DCO enables the economical and rapid design, deployment and measurement of an infinite number of creative variations that can be inserted into online ads when and were they are needed..  Using a template approach, DCO provides an ability to generate display ads on the fly, decreasing the cost and time of creative production and media management by automating many of the manual tasks that go into the production of every banner.

With DCO more specific and relevant messages are displayed, for example destinations for travel tickets based on a viewer's location and previous browsing sessions, or the nearest location of a car dealership based on an IP address.  DCO might even decide within a product to feature more premium items for more affluent users, or feature images tailored to warmer or colder climates to match the user’s own environment.

Highly interactive user elements and live advertiser product data and promotions are integrated based on external data sources including ad user interaction rates, and user time spent with the dynamic ad, (dwell time).  DCO uses advanced algorithms that learn over time – and in real time -  which creative is working best with a given audience and automatically substitute the most successful variants for that audience. Should preferences change, the algorithm adapts and conducts further substitutions. 

Although the promise of DCO is here, there are changes which need to take place to take advantage of the full opportunity.

Barriers to success have included requiring agencies and advertisers to adapt to a separate workflow that isn’t streamlined with the rest of their marketing activities.   In addition, sophisticated creative optimisation campaigns with thousands of different ad variations are still a new and unfamiliar territory that advertisers and agencies alike don’t always know how to handle.  Online display campaigns with a limited amount of creative concepts and translated into dynamic creative implementations aren’t the best candidates for DCO.

The new mindset of creative optimisation and changing campaign philosophies:

Optimisation doesn’t replace strategy – Advertisers know their audiences best and need to have built in market knowledge to ensure that each ad served will touch a chord with the target audience.
Plan target audience messaging strategy – Target audiences and preferences need to be researched thoroughly to generate a large volume of equally realistic potential outcomes
Analyse the sales cycle through each stage of the funnel – Promotions need to be created that will drive a conversion or take an audience to the next step.
Keep it fresh – DCO messages and promotions need to be fresh and react in real time to ongoing events.
Big brother alert – Seeing a message like “Hi David, don’t you want to buy that beautiful sofa you just saw” can make someone really uncomfortable – advertisers need to follow acceptable guidelines and be sensitive to privacy issues.
Integration – Dynamic Creative Optimisation tools that are well integrated into ad servers provide efficiency and scale that can boost performance.

Article submitted by MediaMind

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  • Right Brain, Left Brain sums up the dichotomy of a media business that’s constantly battling with the challenge of delivering a profit and discovering new ways to communicate to consumers. The Cream editorial team combined with a dream team of industry pioneers from around the world share their expert opinions.

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