Lab

Take the first hour of class to complete Part 4 of the Product Roadmap with your group (from last week).

Contextual Planning

Before the Web, it was a challenge to coordinate media buys (the purchase of advertising space) and the creative ads to fill that space. There was rarely an opportunity to consider the context of the advertising: where and when it was running. A single 30-second commercial would run across all kinds of television programming. A single quarter-page newspaper ad would run in many different markets.

The web allows us to finely segment our target markets and adapt quickly. We can now consider context in our marketing plans. It is far less expensive than before to change ads on the fly.

Contextual planning is the habit of bringing media planners and creative developers together. Now they can determine and address the context in which a brand message will appear. This approach allows brands to better match message to context, making it more relevant when the user sees it. The result is better consumer engagement.

Contextual planning can even address mood. In a comedy website such as Cracked.com, humorous ads fare better. On a news story about a house fire, an ad for homeowner’s insurance will capture the user’s attention.

Contextual Creative Brief

A contextual creative brief is a document designed by both marketing teams. It lays out the brand’s strategy for matching content to context.

So the context defined in the document might include:

  • type of media (website, blog, social network, magazine, television, outdoor, etc.)
  • size and shape of the ad space
  • mood of the environment
  • geographic location
  • individual user behavior patterns

And it would suggest the appropriate methods for communicating the brand message in each context.

Social Marketing: the Contextual Creative Brief

Contextual Creative Brief

Behavioral Targeting

As mentioned above, marketing teams can even target messages depending on user behavior. Consumers are often not aware that their pathways from site to site are being recorded as data. Advertisers use this data to serve ads on one site based on the user behavior on another site. These ads are highly targeted and can lead to higher rates of conversion.

Discussion

What is the most creative use of advertising you have seen on the Web? In what context did you first experience it?

Of the branded entertainment you see on the Web, what percentage do you pass on to other people?

Social Marketing

Social communities are powered by users, otherwise known as consumers. These communities take many forms, including blogs, wikis, social networks, and virtual social worlds.

Blogs

Blog is short for web log. It’s a way for any individual to have content published on the Web. It’s also a great opportunity for social marketing.

Originally, blogs were fairly one-direction: an author wrote, and sometimes people commented.

Commenting on blogs has become a way to socialize for many, particularly on blogs with lots of viewers. The most obvious source of these well-trafficked blogs is on news media websites. But there are many that grew over the years to be massively popular yet still have a single author, such as The Bloggess. She receives hundreds of comments on each post. The commenters often have discussions with each other after replying to the initial post.

Marketing with Blogs

Blogs can be highly specialized. Many fall into specific niches, and attract a narrow target audience. They also influence consumers’ purchasing behavior when they discuss products and services.

This provides a fantastic opportunity for marketers. Here are some strategies that marketers are using to harness the power of blogs:

  • buy ad space through a service such as Google AdSense
  • sending press releases to bloggers, in the hopes that they will take note and write about the news
  • sending products for review
  • posting comments to blogs
  • create their own brand or product blog
  • have brand employees blog about their area of expertise

Marketers must be careful not to tarnish the brand with deceptive or spammy practices. Some marketers have set a brand back by posting blog comments posing as informed consumers. Another dodgy practice is to pay bloggers to write positive things. When caught doing these deceptive acts, companies can suffer from plenty of bad PR (public relations).

Video: Aggressive Guerrilla Marketing PR Strategies: How To Get Into Blogs and News [13:14]

Please forgive the wind in the audio.

Video: Media Manipulation and Unconventional Marketing: Author Ryan Holiday on “Trust Me I’m Lying” [7:51]

This is the reality of some marketing efforts on blogs. How do you feel about this?

Wikis

Wikis are websites that use special software to collaborate in building the site’s content. Users can edit existing content and create new content. The most famous of these is Wikipedia.

Wikis reflect the work of thousands or millions of individuals, rather than a handful of specialists.

Wikipedia has a few rules to encourage unbiased content, but does not use these as a barrier to content creation. Instead, it relies on a horde of volunteer contributors to correct faulty data. It’s fixed on an ongoing basis. The result is the combined knowledge of millions of people.

Author James Surowiecki called Wikipiedia a “wise crowd”. It is diverse, decentralized, independent, and collaborative.

But it is also impossible to know at any given time whether the information posted is entirely correct.

Many brands are on Wikipedia, as are celebrities. There are sometimes overblown marketing efforts on these listings that editors go back and tone down. By the same token, new information that is inflammatory is returned to a neutral point of view.

It is a good practice for big brands to make sure they are in Wikipedia. They should try to maintain a good deal of even-handed information there.

Crowdsourcing

Wiki-type software can also aid marketers in getting collaboration from large groups of people. Proctor & Gamble uses a website called InnoCentive.com to engage with consumers, scientists, and engineers. They gather to solve research and development dilemmas for their products.

Why do people get involved in crowdsourcing for companies? There are myriad reasons, but P&G has offered these:

  • make a positive impact on the world
  • exercise your brain
  • promote yourself as a Solver and prove your expertise
  • earn cash awards—ka-ching!

Marketing with Social Networks

Social networks have most fundamentally changed marketing as we know it. We have come to a point where a majority of social network users say they could not live without them.

Users also spend more time on social networks and blogs than they do on email. People share far more content of Facebook than they do on email.

There are also more specialized networks, like LinkedIn for business connections.

Brands have developed many methods for engaging consumers via social networks. LinkedIn recently added the ability for businesses to own profiles. Facebook fan pages have been around for years, and there are Facebook groups to discuss brands as well. Consumers join these groups to:

  • network with other fans
  • receive customer service
  • give feedback to the brand
Advertising on Social Networks

I will demonstrate the following techniques in class:

Video: Facebook Marketing Tips| 3 Tips To Help You Get Better Results On Facebook [5:13]

7 Keys to Social Marketing

Larry Weber, author of Marketing to the Social Web, offers the following process for marketers.

  1. Observe
    Find the most influential online places where people congregate, listen to what they are saying and doing.
  2. Recruit
    Enlist a core group of people who want to talk about your product.
  3. Evaluate platforms
    Decide if your best opportunities can be found on an existing blog, your own blog, a social network, somewhere else, or a combination of these.
  4. Engage
    Define what content will get people visiting, sharing, talking, and responding.
  5. Measure
    Define success: create measures to track your progress.
  6. Promote
    Get the word out about your online content. Advertise it both online and offline.
  7. Improve
    Make it better. Measure and improve. Measure and improve.
Measuring Social Engagement

I will show the metrics and results of Facebook fan engagement in class.