Video can give your marketing efforts a boost in a variety of ways. Here are two small, smart examples, at either end of the budget spectrum. Let’s start with event promotion on the skinny.
YouTube Makes Event Promotion Easy In the aftermath of a successful event, Philip Young created a video wrap-up and posted it to YouTube.
”London: The Movie” was created using a digital camera, Photo Story 3 and some podcast excerpts. It’s a great way to build interest in a follow-up event without adding a line item in your event budget for a videographer (Hat tip to Neville Hobson).
GM Sponsorship is About Access From skinny budgets to big-boned, Ad Age(reg. req.) tells us that GM is sponsoring the Survivor Finale on-demand.
Survivor fans in select markets will be able to watch the episode for no additional charge through Comcast's video-on-demand platform. This will be the first time an advertiser has fully sponsored on-demand prime-time broadcast programming.
The program will air with only three commercials. The ads direct viewers to the GM Showroom, an on-demand destination that provides videos, along with in-depth product walk-arounds of various GM vehicles.
This is a clear payoff to the sponsorship, unlike Sprite and LOST where I had to figure out the connection/payoff on my own.
GM is doing more than cutting a sponsorship check here. They are creating customer good will and awareness by providing FREE access to VOD and tying themselves to the buzz of a popular show and VOD technology. This would be the polar opposite of what NBC created by pulling SNL’s Lazy Sunday/Narnia Rap from YouTube and turning it into an iTunes revenue generator.
Using Flickr as your online image pool ensures easy access for you, bloggers, journos and passionate customers alike.
It is also a handy tool for promoting your latest news. Proper Flickr tags help ensure your images will be found by a relevant audience.
At Weblogs Work, Alexander Muse takes this one step further and targets well-known “Flickrazzi” to take the new product pics.This in turn taps into the many fans of Thomas Hawk or, in Muse's example, Laughing Squid’s Scott Beale to help amplify launch buzz. Brilliant.
One sure sign of summer is the up tick in mobile marketing news. The latest is from the Delaware News Journal.
I'm interviewed for the piece. It was an impromptu, phone interview. The reporter found me via a Google search on the topic, called me yesterday and we did the interview. My quotes prove this out.
In addition to the classic examples detailed in the above links, we're seeing new mobile marketing efforts unveiled fairly regularly.
Perhaps it's the time of year, but I'm curious if the increase might also be tied to the waning effectiveness of traditional advertising?
We're also seeing more examples of pop-up retail as retailers try and differentiate their brands by providing new, unexpected experiences. Both tactics generate a lot of excitement, even though one sells product and the other simply markets it.
Either way, it looks like we're in for a fun summer, brought to you by...
Here’s a tip: If you are conducting e-mail marketing, don’t do it from a free e-mail account. It kills the credibility of any e-mail marketing campaign. It also increases the probability that it will get caught in spam filters.
That reads obvious, right? Well I was surprised and disappointed to get a “Come to Our Booth!” e-mail from a company whose brand I admire enough that I am not calling them out in this post.
It was sent from companyname event.return at gmail dot com. Everything else about the e-mail, from the format and subject line to the graphics and VP of Retail Industry Solutions sig file was fine. Instead the gmail domain gets this company negative attention. They should know better.
As any good trade show will do the NRF rents out its attendee list to exhibitors so they can promote their presence at the show. I’ve been getting a ton of extra, completely untargeted e-mail and mail as a result.
A slow news day brings us a USA Todayreport on how some retailers are/are not referencing Christmas. I’ll leave my take on this can of worms to this editorial cartoon.** What really interests me about this story is the media relations effort behind it.
The above report shows how a small sample landed one “expert source” a big story in USA Today. Small sample sizes are usually a red flag for bad research. But in this case a small sample is warranted; there are only a small handful of national retailers. Conducting observational research on their holiday marketing is a simple and smart idea.
Smaller sample sizes can be appropriate depending on how the results are promoted. Consider an opinion poll at a trade show. Trade shows bring the bulk of an industry under one roof for a few days. An industry opinion poll is a great gauge of which trends and topics attendees find most interesting. And post-show round up stories are always looking for an angle beyond the laundry list of new products.
At my last job, we promoted opinion poll results gathered at my client's largest annual show. PDA-carrying pollsters roamed the show. Attendees were incentivized to take the poll with an entry into a drawing for one of several iPods. When promoting poll results, we were clear on sample size. The timely hook garnered the client great exposure and we also published the results in a follow-up mailing sent to customers and leads generated at the show.
** With a hat tip to Canuckflack, I suspect Tyson will ruffle more, er, feathers over their blatant display of Christianity than Macy’s will over keeping Christmas in its marketing. After all, they were the department store featured in Miracle on 34th Street. OK, maybe I'm wrong and just overdue for a Festivus Airing of Grievances.
UPDATE: Ed Nicholson from Tyson Foods rightly points out that the Tyson's "Giving Thanks" booklet is inclusive of several religions and provides meal time prayers from Jewish, Muslim and Native American traditions.
UPDATE #2:Adrants reports that the American Family Association pressured a few retailers into changing their approach. Oy.
GM's Smallblock Engine Blog, the corporate blog that started it all, retires today after a year of celebrating the 50th anniversary of GM's smallblock engine.
GM's Fastlane blog gets most of the credit for establishing GM’s leadership position in the CGM space, but Smallblock’s significance to the history of corporate blogging should not be overlooked.
Start Small A product-focused event blog brings a tight focus to content, as well as an end date to the project. Bringing this level of definition to a company's first blog project makes for an easier sell internally.
Test, Refine, Launch Smallblock allowed GM to get some experience under its belt and learn by doing before launching the Fastlane blog. Smallblock authors were product managers, not highly visible and opinionated executives like Bob Lutz. This lowered the risk of entry considerably. In hindsight, I wonder if Fastlane was the first idea for a blog and Smallblock was created, in some part, to help ensure a successful launch.
Long-Term Results While the last Smallblock post may be today, I hope the site will stay online. All of this content is already cataloged in search engines and helping GM stay at the top of searches on this topic. Pulling the site down because it is no longer being updated would be foolish and a wasted investment of time and resources.
The Public Relations Society of America wisely cancelled its annual conference in light of Hurricane Wilma. Unfortunately, the financial implications are large for this national, non-profit association.
Even the International Association of Online Communicators rallies support for the organization with a call for ideas to help the PRSA maintain momentum for the year based on this decision. In an announcement on the PRSA site, it appears they may try and reschedule.
Unfortunately they also posted the following statement regarding refunds:
To request a refund, we ask that you write a letter to PRSA to include the following information: Your name, organization, phone number and e-mail address; The reason for your being unable to attend the Conference (please be specific -- e.g., your flight was cancelled, the seminar you were planning to attend was cancelled, etc.).
Ouch. The PRSA should make it a bit easier to get a refund. I can already see the piles of letters, printed dutifully on official company stationery. The "specific" reasons submitted for being unable to attend should be passionate if nothing else.
The PRSA may reschedule the event and get good attendance. Maybe I can even attend this one. But posting the standard refund policy in a unique situation like this is bad form. The PRSA might lose a few bucks, but bad buzz is even more expensive. Making it easy for registered attendees to get their money back is just good business. Here are some constructive ideas on how PRSA can move past this setback.
* Hold the Event. Online. Promoted properly, they can offset some of the financial loss and still deliver valuable programming to the membership. Handouts could be hosted in an online library for download and a handful of PR bloggers/podcasters might be given media passes to promote the online event to a wider audience. Attendees registered for the cancelled event would get a partial refund and registration would be opened up to a larger, international audience. Sponsorship might also be revisited to see if any new opportunities present themselves. Webex might be interested in helping host the online event.
* Make Lemonade. Whether it is rescheduled or not, EVERY registered attendee should receive follow up communication from the PRSA. The letter should restate the decision and outline next steps. It should also include a discount voucher for the 2006 event and ask the recipient if she would be interested in helping create next year’s program through an online focus group. The 2005 crowd would be more likely to cash in these coupons if they had buy-in to next year’s content.
These ideas won't erase the financial loss, but they could build some good buzz for the organization. Be sure to add your ideas to this list or stop by IAOC blog and join their thread on this topic.
TechWeb brings us a gloom and doom research report stating that business to business trade media will see print ad spending decrease due to blog advertising, sponsorship and content opportunities. “Users are finding alternatives to paid trade sources: mostly ad-supported content and user-created content from blogs."
OK, this research will come true if business to business publishers react like a deer in the blogosphere’s headlights.
But The Washington Post and Newsweek show one way to integrate blogs into online content to being a new, valuable dimension to a print magazine’s online presence. You don’t even have to create a blog in these scenarios.
Instead of reading this research, business to business publishers should be defining and analyzing their corners of the blogosphere. All it takes is a few search engines and some quality time online. This foundation will help them create a strategy on how they can integrate consumer-generated media into their publishing models.
The sheer volume of business to business trade shows are the most obvious untapped opportunity. Consumer-generated media, including temporary event blogs, should/will alter trade shows significantly: * New product shots on Flickr * Show daily podcasts with interviews * Blog reports on key speeches and show floor buzz * Incentivized research encouraging non-attendee participation * Fun gimmicks like ranking the show's best tchotchke giveaway
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg and everyone involved in the show (publisher, organizer, exhibitor, attendee, non-attendee) can benefit.
TechWeb notes “trade companies are likely to continue acquiring online shopping, social networking, and blogging-related companies in an effort to expand their businesses online.” Well trade media is the original niche, or micro, media. Who better to take advantage of the blogosphere? Business to business is near and dear to my heart after 13 years working in this sector. I’m rooting for them.
UPDATE: Marketwatch Media Editor Jon Friedman adds jet fuel to my torch for mainstream media (MSM) in his post entitled "Recapturing the vitality of magazines."
Give American magazines their due. In recent years, publishers' laziness and lack of innovation have essentially enabled blogs to hijack the intangible buzz that the MSM crave. In fact, the Internet is playing such a profound role in our lives -- while gaining advertising revenue at traditional publishers' expense -- that it has all but driven the MSM into a crouch.
Still, magazines occupy a cherished place in our society. Sure, you can print out a page from a Web site and hold it in your hands. And you can put a framed copy on a wall in your home or office. But sorry: A printout won't look as good as the real thing.
The American Society of Magazine Editors is celebrating the medium's vitality, relevance and creativity by holding a competition to identify the best 40 covers of the past 40 years.
Classic covers can uncannily bring back all kinds of memories and can even herald the beginning of a new era in pop culture. These covers remind us all how much magazines can enrich our lives.
I happily remembered my wayward youth when I saw a hilarious National Lampoon cover from 1973. Unabashedly un-PC, it showed an adorable dog with a pistol pressed against its right ear. The caption said: If you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog.
Amy Gahran has requested some alternatives to the news release. Here are a dozen blog/RSS-free ideas to consider.
1) Infographic:USA Today seemingly owns the infographic because snappy visuals help show the news instead of simply telling it. Research results work well in this format and stand out from the other news competing for column inches.
2) Advertising: Paid placement can be very useful if you want complete control of the message and when it appears.
3) News Story: Your job is far from over after the first editorial placement. Sending a story you've placed to non-competitive media outlets can be very effective, assuming you have a unique follow-up angle. Your news has already been vetted at this point and can help create momentum.
4) Bullet Point: Can you get your news across in a sentence or two? You should. Concise, substantive writing goes a long way in the attention-deficit-driven world of media relations.
5)Haiku: Creative writing might work, but what if you're announcing an acquisition? Procter and Gamble acquired Gillette to grow and be number one. Needless to say, you'll need background material to support news poetry.
6) Podcast/mp3 File: We're all listening to podcasts and can think of news that might be effective in this format. If everyone listened to their news releases before sending them out, I suspect their quality would improve dramatically.
7) Phone/E-Mail: Phone and e-mail are sometimes used in tandem with news releases, but consider using them to simply continue the conversation you've created with your key news contacts to create bigger stories. How many news releases have landed you on the cover of a magazine?
8) Picture: Well, they are worth a thousand, but consider how a picture might be used as a teaser for your news. You can photoshop a unique URL into this engaging, visual clue that offers more information. This also allows you to track media interest. If personnel photos were still sent out as prints, you could easily create a cutline for them that would eliminate the need for the accompanying release.
9) Cell Phone/Blackberry: If your reporters use text messaging, you are probably using it to connect with them on important news. The Vatican began doing this in 2003. If your key reporters prefer quick, hand-written notes sent via carrier pigeon, invest in a rooftop coop.
10) Flash Animation: With apologies to Tom Murphy, a flash animation might help announce your company's new CEO. Create a timeline outlining each CEO's tenure and their major accomplishments.
11) Fact Sheet/Backgrounder/Media Kit: Gahran offers up a fact sheet as an alternative to the news release. All this really does is eliminate the painful, contrived quote and our other favorite news release clichés from the raft of poorly-written content choking the wire services each day.
12) Well-Written News Release: The news release is on my list because the 11 ideas above might only work with specific types of news (Have you tapped into poetry to announce financial results?) A news release is versatile enough to announce just about anything. It isn't sexy or groundbreaking. But it can be effective.
At the root of all the drama sparked over this little document is the fact that it is content quality, and not its format, that is the real issue. I read Gahran's blog, Contentious, for the posts that can help improve writing. She is focused on creating better content so I'm not sure why this debate has so much fire and momentum.