Sunday, January 24, 2010

Local. Local. Local. Media Predictions ...

(Excerpt from RST, 1/22/10)

Top Five Predictions for Local Media

The top prediction from Digital Strategies for Broadcasters suggests local broadcasters have three incredibly valuable assets -- local brands, local content and local sales forces. DSB analysts are advising clients to expect to see some creative broadcasters bringing these assets together in very compelling business models.

BIA/Kelsey's Interactive Local Media analysts believe the next two years will fundamentally alter the local media market landscape, based on the thesis that the economic implosion over the past year and a half will irrevocably change advertiser behavior. The ILM team's top prediction is the return of a competitive search market. ILM analysts have advised their clients to expect traffic acquisition costs to start to rise. If AOL moves to the Bing camp, the "tri-search-fecta" of a Bing-Yahoo-AOL brand would be a competitive one.

BIA/Kelsey's Mobile Local Media analysts believe the mix of technology, usage and advertiser trends will further define the pace and change of mobile media and affirm the core role mobile will play in the $140 billion local media industry. In 2010 the MLM analyst team predicts location and geotargeted advertising will represent a long-elusive revenue stream for Twitter and for third parties that mash up Twitter streams and location data. Also expect Facebook to integrate automatic location detection into the status updates that have become central to its user experience.

Despite the general devaluation of ad networks and the impact of a poor economy, BIA/Kelsey's Marketplaces analysts believe vertical ad networks hold a great deal of promise. The vertical opportunities in marketplaces appear to be the sector of the Internet economy where many of the biggest opportunities lie. New vertical combinations could provide a certain amount of sustaining revenues from emerging players, such as networks of hyperlocal sites and local/lifestyle networks. Marketplaces analysts will be watching for agencies to ask for alternative online distribution and to put up the bucks.

Analysts from BIA/Kelsey's The Kelsey Report believe the level of urgency for Yellow Pages publishers to diversify their mix of revenues and re-engineer their sales organizations is at its peak. Look for publishers to begin testing discrete monetization paths for their mobile search products. These will range from discrete landing pages to pay per call. The dollars will be small, but publishers will want to see how they are embraced by the sales channel and reps. They will also want to understand which approaches deliver value and which do not.

(Source: BIA/Kelsey, 01/21/10)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ad Revenues Upgraded to Flat in 2010

(Excerpt from Radio Ink, 1/22/10)

Corrected: Magna Predicts Flat Ad Revenues In 2010

Correction: An earlier version of this story included an incorrect percentage in Magna's radio revenue projection for 2011. Radio Ink regrets the error.

January 21, 2010: Magna, a division of IPG's Mediabrands, has updated its U.S. advertising revenue forecast and is now projecting that ad revenues will be essentially flat this year, with a 0.1 percent decline, to $161 billion. That's compared to Magna's earlier projection of a 1.3 percent falloff.

For the first quarter, Magna sees 3 percent less advertising revenue on a normalized basis, falling to $36.8 billion from $38 billion in Q1 2009. That reflects, the company said, "a moderating pace of decline" compared to a 7 percent drop in ad revenues in Q4 of last year and a 15 percent decline in Q3 of '08.

For local radio, Magna projects $12.8 billion in ad revenues in 2010, down 2.5 percent from 2009's $13.1 billion. That follows a 20.9 percent ad decline last year. But Magna is also predicting a 1 percent year-over-year drop for local radio in 2011, to $12.6 billion. For network and satellite radio, Magna projects revenues of $1.1 billion in 2010, up 2 percent year-over-year, and a gain of 3 percent in 2011, to $1.2 billion.

Local TV, meanwhile, is expected to be off 10 percent in 2010, to $14.3 billion from $14.5 billion, but will move back up by 10 percent in 2011, to $14.5 billion. Local newspapers were off 27.2 percent last year, and Magna expects that to drop by 0.7 percent in 2010, to $21.8 billion, with another 5 percent drop, to $20.7 billion, in 2011.

For local digital, Magna projects growth of 2.7 percent in 2010, to $3.5 billion from $3.4 billion in '09, and a further gain of 7.3 percent, to $3.7 billion, in 2011.

Magna covers political and Olympic spending separately to avoid skewing its look at underlying trends, and estimates that local TV will see about $2.7 billion in political advertising this year, as well as about $488 million in incremental revenues from the Olympics.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Boost Traffic - Add Social Media to Email Marketing

(Excerpt from Mashable, Latest News Updates, 1.21.10)

HOW TO: Take Advantage of Social Media in Your E-mail Marketing

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

You’ve most likely had an e-mail newsletter for your company for much longer than you’ve had a presence on social media sites. But now that you do both, the two can go hand-in-hand, with e-mail creating an opportunity to extend your presence on social media sites, and social media sites providing a way to get more e-mail subscribers.

At the moment though, most marketers aren’t connecting the dots. According to a recent study published by eMarketer, 48% of marketers include “forward to a friend” features in their e-mails, but only 13% include features that make it easy to share content on social networks. Here’s a look at how to close the gap, and why it’s so important that you do.
Why Include Social Media in Your E-mail?

Just like a piece of Web content can “go viral” as people share it across social networks, your e-mail promotions can get a big boost by making it easy to share them.

A recent study by Marketing Sherpa concluded that simply including sharing buttons to an e-mail marketing campaign led to a “25% boost in reader interaction, and a surge in inbound traffic from social networking sites.” Moreover, huge gains were reported in traffic via social sites: 2,070% from LinkedIn(), 1,680% from Twitter(), and 1,351% from Facebook().

How to Do It
Share buttons have become common on Web content, but they’re also easy to integrate into e-mails. If your e-mail consists of multiple articles, make sure each points to a page on the Web, and that your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn share buttons are setup to share the URL of each respective article (note: you’ll want to stick to images and text links for your e-mail share buttons as opposed to JavaScript).

Beyond sharing articles though, make sure all of your e-mails include prominent links to your presence on various social sites. Calls to action in a sidebar or in the header like “Follow Us on Twitter” or “Become a Fan on Facebook” will help people connect with you on social sites and help build your audience on them.

Growth Strategies
Once you’ve integrated social media into your e-mails, be sure you’re cross promoting. There’s no harm in reminding your Twitter followers, Facebook fans, or LinkedIn contacts that you have an e-mail newsletter. And once they signup, they’re the ones most likely to share content with their own networks on social sites.

Beyond that, create compelling content that people want to share. While a good promotion might not be as viral as a funny YouTube() clip, your business’ fans will be more likely to spread the word if there’s a specific call to action. Moreover, create content that’s not necessarily a direct sell, but provides value to potential customers in the form of information that’s useful to them. Between good content and easy social media sharing options, your e-mail marketing can become a powerful weapon in growing your business.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Be Cause or Not To Cause. That is the Question!

(Excerpt from RST, 1/18/10)

For CMOs, Cause Marketing is a Way to Innovate in an Uncertain Time

While most CMOs have laid forth their plans for 2010, many are still seeking a way to innovate in a time of uncertainty. Where are the opportunities? With the recent dramatic drops in marketing spending, there has been one category that continues to grow. Throughout 2009 we saw the launch of many national cause-marketing programs at a time when marketers were watching budgets more closely than ever. With this rise in popularity comes the question: Where is cause marketing headed in 2010? While the rules of a successful cause campaign remain solidified, the category is set to change dramatically in 2010.

The biggest dynamic impacting cause in 2010 is that it is becoming a mature marketing option. As the newness continues to wear off and the number of cause programs continues to increase, so too grows scrutiny of these programs: What is the ROI of a cause program? Is the charitable partner truly receiving a real benefit from the cause program? And so on.

Programs that monitor nonprofit organizations, such as Charity Navigator, have existed in some form for quite a while. However, the launch of programs such as Goodness500, which measures a brand's social responsibility, will only continue to rise in 2010. Case in point: The January 2010 issue of Ladies' Home Journal contains their first-ever Do Good Awards. Expect to see more of these watchdog groups in the coming year.

The importance of transparency
Programs run the right way and in place for the long term can stand up to this scrutiny. If a program is to survive in 2010, it must follow one of the most important tenets of cause branding: transparency. This is an important trend as we head into the second decade of the 21st century. Because it is no longer a new method of branding, cause marketing will be held to the same standards as other methods of branding. And that is good.

While brands experienced sweeping change in 2010, so did nonprofits. They, too, are challenged with an entirely new consumer landscape. Research shows that the majority of Americans care about health, education and their local community. While consumers will continue to support these core causes, expect some new issues to rise where there tends to be a lack of programs -- specifically U.S. troops and homeless pets.

At the same time, we will likely see fewer charities as the economy continues to take a toll on smaller organizations. Look for charities to merge and consolidate this year in order to stay alive. This activity will also create opportunities for companies looking to support causes. A boost from a corporation via a cause program might be just what a charity needs to keep its mission alive.

The economic upheaval we are still in the midst of has forced us all to change the way we operate. In a year when volunteering went up as charitable donations went down, consumers are clearly demonstrating that they still want to give, but in different ways. Look for brands to develop programs that engage consumers instead of simply cutting a check or asking for donations.

Let consumers know what you're doing
For years, generally accepted beliefs led brands to avoid being boastful about their good works. Yet smart brands have recognized that consumers expect to hear about what a company is doing to contribute to the greater good. Educated consumers demand to know every facet of your business -- and that includes your cause. Take, for example, the 2009 Super Bowl. We saw major advertisers such as McDonald's use premium, paid ad space to showcase its long-standing commitment to charity. In 2010, we will see more programs supported by ad dollars, point-of-purchase and on-package.

With more marketing dollars supporting cause programs, you can also expect to see a link between a brand's loyalty marketing programs and its cause programs. We know that cause programs build new bridges between a brand and its consumers by creating more loyalty. When loyalty and cause programs are tied together, both will work harder for the brand.

The third integrated trend to watch will be more multilevel deals between nonprofits, brands and media properties. In the year that the queen of philanthropy, Oprah, will go off the air, we will see more room for media/cause deals to take place. Programs such as Stand Up for Cancer, from the Entertainment Industry Foundation, take cause support to a new level and provide opportunities for corporations to work together for one cause.

The ultimate winner from all these trends will be nonprofits. More support means more visibility and more dollars for their missions. However, in order for charities to truly benefit, brands must treat their cause programs with the same level of business acumen they do their other marketing outreaches. If more brands take that philosophy to heart, then we will see an even larger growth pattern for cause in 2010.

As evidence to the rise in cause marketing, the following four brands launched comprehensive cause initiatives in the fourth quarter of 2009. While the brands are very different, they all chose causes that make absolute sense for their brand, supported it with marketing and engaged consumers to act.

Dawn Saves Wildlife: The P&G dishwashing brand has been supporting wildlife causes for 30 years. Yet July 2009 was the first time the brand ever touted their efforts with an integrated marketing campaign. The program engages consumers by allowing them to register a $1 donation at dawnsaveswildlife.com for every bottle they purchase. Dawn supports the program with a mix of national media, social media and PR.

H&R Block Dollars & Sense: This past fall, the tax-preparation company launched a program focused on increasing the financial fitness of high-school students. The brand is providing more than $1 million in personal finance curriculum grants to high schools nationwide and rewarding students with college scholarships. Despite a tough economy, H&R Block committed to funding and launching the program at the start of the 2009-2010 school year.

Pepsi Refresh Project: In November 2009, the global beverage giant created a cause campaign that provides "Thousands of ideas. Millions of grants." Pepsi placed national ads to support the launch, announcing they would donate millions of dollars in grants to the best ideas from consumers about how to make the world a better place.

Sonic Drive-In Limeades for Learning: The QSR launched their first cause branding program in September 2009. Because the brand is such a strong part of the communities where its more than 4,500 locations are situated, Sonic chose to fund local teacher programs through DonorsChoose.org. The program, which has funded $640,000 to date, was supported with national TV and print buys, as well as extensive online and PR outreach.

(Source: AdAge.com, 01/06/10)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Five Ways to get Retweeted

(Excerpt from ComputerWorld, 1/11/10)

Twitter Tips: 5 Proven Ways to Get Retweeted
By Kristin BurnhamJanuary 11, 2010 02:51 PM ET

CIO - We all like to think we're interesting. And on Twitter, that's often measured and validated by how frequently other people retweet your posts. Maybe you're looking to hear feedback on your recent blog post. Or you've found an interesting article or a funny YouTube video that you want to share with others. Aside from the instant ego boost that being retweeted provides ("Hey! They like me!), retweeting also helps you reach a greater portion of the Twittersphere than you'd be able to on your own.

Dan Zarrella, author of The Social Media Marketing Book, knows his Twitter stats. He's combed through tens of thousands of tweets and compiled a report detailing his findings. Read on for his five tips to help you craft the kind of tweet that will get you noticed.

1. Time and day matter.
Zarrella's research shows that to increase your chances of being retweeted, you should Tweet your links in afternoons, evenings and on weekends. More specifically, Friday yields the highest number of retweets, while retweeting occurs much more frequently from 3 p.m. to midnight.

2. Choose your words carefully.
Zarrella has found that the most retweetable word is "you." "The word 'you,' while very common, seems to occur especially often in retweets, indicating that if you're talking to 'me,' I am more likely to retweet it," Zarrella says. The least retweetable words: game, going, haha, lol, but, watching, work, home, night and bed. "The lesson learned here is that if you're trying to get more retweets, don't just engage in idle chit-chat or tweet about mundane activities," Zarrella suggests.

3. Include a link.
In a random sample of tweets, Zarrella found that about 19 percent included a link. Compare that to a sample of retweets, and the percentage almost triples--57 percent included links, suggesting that the presence of a link may increase a tweet's chances of being shared.

4. Get friendly with bit.ly.
The most successful URL shortener, according to Zarrella's research, is bit.ly, followed by ow.ly, most likely because they are newer and contain fewer characters, he says. The least retweetable URL shorteners are the older and longer tinyurl.com and twitpic.com.

5. Less is more.
"New data I've been working on seems to indicate that the more frequently you Tweet links, the fewer clicks you'll get," Zarrella says. If you tweet several times an hour, you decrease the likelihood of being retweeted. Keeping your tweets to one per hour will increase your chances of being retweeted.

Staff Writer Kristin Burnham covers consumer Web and social technologies for CIO.com. She writes frequently on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. You can follow her on Twitter: @kmburnham.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Customer Feedback Still Key in Marketing

(Excerpt from RST, 1/14/10)

Use Loyal Customers as Leverage

Proven results are a major selling point, which is why so many businesses rely on buyer testimonials to boost their credibility.

Used correctly, testimonials and case studies can create the type of urgency that compels a prospect to buy.

Case studies can also demonstrate how your products and services have helped some of the prospect's top competitors generate more revenue or branch out into new markets.

You may even want to take it a step further, by showing prospects how much revenue they stand to lose by stalling, or putting off the sale indefinitely.

Source: Sales consultant/speaker Kendra Lee (www.klagroup.com)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Steadily Decreasing Discounting is Huge Win for Retail in the Dollar Column

(Excerpt from RST, 1/14/10)

Can Non-Traditional Pricing Strategies Boost Sales?

According to research performed by the University of Miami School of Business Administration, retailers can significantly increase profits simply by altering their pricing strategies.

The research, which included a 30-week field study performed by the school's marketing department, concluded that when the price of a sale item was increased back to its original cost in gradual steps, as opposed to one large jump, overall sales and profits rose dramatically.

Just how much? Some might be surprised. The school is reporting the field study showed a 200% increase in sales and a 55% increase in profits when the strategy (referred to as Steadily Decreasing Discounting or SDD) was used.

In the field study, SDD was tested against two of the most traditional pricing strategies: Everyday Low Pricing (EDLP), which is most commonly used by Wal-Mart and focuses on marketing consistently low prices instead of weekly sales; and Hi-Lo Pricing, which refers to the trend of offering significant discounts on certain items for a short period of time.

Michael Tsiros, chair of marketing at University of Miami and lead author of the study, explained a slight but significant difference between two of the strategies. "SDD starts like Hi-Lo pricing in that you have a big sale but the main difference comes after the initial sale when you progressively increase the price back to its regular level versus in one shot," Tsiros said. "By doing so, SDD avoids a key problem of the Hi-Lo strategy -- the big dive in sales at the end of the promotion that results from people stocking up on the item during the promotion or because they perceive the price to be too high because it was recently much lower.

"Essentially, the study concluded that SDD is an effective pricing strategy because of two reasons. When consumers are shopping, they think about past and future prices as well as current prices, so if they see an upward trend (such as the one that would be apparent with SDD), they assume prices will continue to rise in the future, and as a result, they're more likely to purchase an item at that time. The second conclusion Tsiros and his team drew was that because consumers often anticipate feeling regret after missing a sale, they are more likely to purchase an item if they expect prices to increase in the near future, to avoid experiencing that regret.

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all model for pricing strategies in the retail sector, but after a volatile 2009, retailers are looking anywhere and everywhere for new revenue-generating methods. Recently, Microsoft announced its plan to roll out its Office 2010 software via a new pricing platform. The company's new approach is a flexi-pricing strategy that, ideally, will make its products more accessible to a larger group of consumers. The product won't be available until later this year, but the report states Microsoft plans to offer a range of options for consumers purchasing the software. Prices will depend on each consumer's selection but are expected to range from $99 to $499.For more information on the University of Miami's retail strategy of "Steadily Decreasing Discounting," click here.

(Source: Retail Merchandiser, 01/06/10)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top Words of the Last Year and Decade

(Excerpt from Mashable.com, 1/11/10)

“Google” Is Word of the Decade

The American Dialect Society has named “google” the word of the decade and “tweet” the word of the year.

This comes after Bing said that “Twitter” the most popular word of 2009, and the Oxford dictionary declared “unfriend” (to remove someone as a Facebook friend) the word of the year.

Notably, “google” is lowercase. It’s not the name of the company; it’s a catch-all term for searching the Internet, whether you use Google, Bing or another search engine. One member of the panel of judges said he thought “blog” would become the word of the decade, but “google” won out in the end.

Characters in TV shows regularly talk about googling one another, and the word is ubiquitous enough that it’s already been stolen as a brand name for toilet paper, among other things.

“Tweet” is society’s word of the year, but Twitter didn’t begin using that word officially until a few months ago. It was used unofficially by most everyone, though. Unlike “Google,” it’s not trademarked.

Alternative Marketing Push Goes to New Depths

(Excerpt from RST, 1/11/10)

KFC Pays Indiana Cities for 'Fiery' Ad Space

Fast-food chain KFC is giving Indianapolis and another Indiana city $7,500 so it can emblazon founder Colonel Sanders' face on their hydrants and fire extinguishers to promote new "fiery" chicken wings.

Experts say to expect more ads like this, on public property from sewer grates to the local landfill, as companies look to cut through the clutter of traditional advertising. Cash-strapped governments have long sold space on mass transit, benches, trash cans and other public property to help stretch budgets.

KFC told Indianapolis and Brazil in western Indiana it wanted to improve their fire safety by helping pay for new hydrants and extinguishers in exchange for advertising on them. The company plans to e-mail a national network of mayors today to find three more cities to participate in the approximately $15,000, month-long effort, which began Tuesday.

Indianapolis will receive $5,000 to buy fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Some 33 extinguishers will be placed in recreation centers at city parks, and fire officials will hand out the detectors, said Jen Pittman, spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Ballard. The extinguishers will display KFC's logo for at least a month, a KFC official said.

"It's offsetting a need, it's offsetting some of our budget costs," Pittman said.

Alternative marketing efforts like this have been growing as people become immune to advertising in print, outdoors and on television, said Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates in New York.

"I think it's the tip of an iceberg of things to come as marketers struggle to find places to reach consumers and as cities look for ways to squeeze more dollars," Adamson said.

Laura Ries, president of marketing consulting firm Ries & Ries outside Atlanta, said marketers must find new places to reach consumers.

"People ignore advertising, they try to get away from it whenever possible," she said. "So hitting them in unusual and unlikely places, at least initially, is likely to get some attention."

KFC, whose parent company, Yum Brands Inc., is one of the nation's largest fast-food chain owners, wants customers to see it as helping communities, said Javier Benito, a KFC executive vice president.

It spent about $16,000 last year to help fix potholes in four cities -- Topeka, Kan., Chattanooga, Tenn., Warren, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky., where it is based. In return, more than 1,500 potholes were branded "Re-Freshed by KFC" in chalk that lasted about a month.

"These are things that not a lot of people are doing. I think it helps us in terms of creating goodwill with consumers," Benito said.

KFC approached city officials in 8,600-resident Brazil after a local newspaper reported that dozens of hydrants were out of service. Mayor Ann Bradshaw, who said her city's budget situation "hasn't been very good," had no qualms accepting the deal.

The chain will give the city $2,500 so it can put its logo and actual chicken buckets on at least three city fire hydrants, including one each near the courthouse, the post office and a VFW post. Bradshaw said the city intends to use the money to repair hydrants or purchase one; they run about $2,500 apiece.

She's open to more such arrangements. "I'm willing to jump on board," she said. "I think KFC is out there starting the ball rolling."

(Source: Indianapolis Star, 01/06/10)

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Social Media and Paid Content Top 2010 Trends

(Excerpt from RST, 1/8/10)

Welcome to 2010. Here is a list of what marketing trends we can expect to see in this new year.

Online News Content Media companies are at the center of a fierce debate over how to best monetize digital content. In recent years, they swung from one extreme to another—first charging the consumer for access to content, then opening the floodgates to free, ad-supported content (with a few notable exceptions).

Now, some media entities with premium offerings are again contemplating paid-content experiments. As these play out in 2010, we’ll see what works and what doesn’t. Our prediction? Consumers will resist paid systems, and competitors will capitalize on the negative sentiment with ad-supported content. In the end, there will be islands of paid content (The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times) and hybrids of paid and ad-supported models, but on the whole, the digital media landscape will be predominantly ad-based.

Digital Video Convergence One of the keys to transitioning the US home video audience from DVDs to digital streams and downloads will be the emergence of technology that bridges the gap between the computer and the TV. The Consumer Electronics Show in early 2010 will usher in TVs with direct Internet connectivity, or with on-screen access to content portals such as YouTube, Blockbuster and Netflix. As online video becomes intertwined with the living-room TV experience, download and streaming services will take on a prominent role in the home entertainment ecosystem.

Earned Media Takes Center Stage Marketers will demand better ways to manage and measure the impact of earned media—the additional unpaid exposure a brand gets when consumers share about the brand online. Agencies will need to establish earned-media goals for every paid-media online ad campaign.

Social Plus Search Will Equal Better Results, More Ad Opportunities Search will get more social in several ways: by including real-time content in results (e.g., Twitter posts), adding information from social network friends to results, and using collective information from other Web users to hone search relevance. These trends will yield new ad formats that may incorporate friends’ viewpoints or interactions directly into the ad—and will raise new red flags among privacy advocates.

Social Ad Networks Will Expand Expect more momentum—and regulatory scrutiny—behind advertising that is targeted based on information from social network user profiles. News Corp.’s Fox Audience Network (FAN) and services from startups 33Across, Media6° and others are already up and running. Meanwhile, some advertisers, such as Discovery Channel, have tested ad formats that are personalized on the fly by using Facebook profile data.

Twitter It doesn’t take a crystal ball to guess that 2010 will be the year in which Twitter turns its focus toward building its business. So far, it has concentrated on audience growth, and by any measure it had a spectacular year. (eMarketer estimates that Twitter’s US user base tripled to 18 million in 2009.) The questions now are: What kind of business will Twitter build, and will it succeed?

The revenue streams that have been discussed include paid corporate accounts, celebrity authentication and temporal search. Of these, search seems the most realistic as a revenue generator. There will be formidable challenges, however: After all, how does a marketer insert itself into a short, time-sensitive conversation without disrupting the flow of that conversation and alienating the user?

It’s not clear how, or if, Twitter will overcome these obstacles, but co-founder Biz Stone offered a tantalizing hint when he told Reuters that the company has a novel form of advertising up its sleeve. Expect Twitter to roll this out in 2010 as the cornerstone of its temporal search business.

Source: eMarketer, December 10, 2009