Posts Tagged online marketing

Old Spice Braves New World

The first time I saw the Old Spice man, he was riding a horse, backwards.  That was about 6 months ago. On a humor scale I probably found it a 6 out of 10. I then saw Old Spice man #2 – and he was a bit scary, but still funny. And that was about the extent of my thought process. At the time, I figured the Old Spice campaign was a few TV spots – a little edgy but still a traditional medium that you’d expect from an every day consumer product.

Fast forward to today when I stumble upon @oldspice.  With 45K followers, Old Spice has transformed into a social media sensation. Their youtube channel has 6 million views,  and more incredibly, their uploads have a collective SIXTY MILLION views. Wow!!!

How did this transformation happen? Some thoughts…

First, Old Spice invested early on in building brand awareness of the OSG (Old Spice guy). I may be giving them too much credit but in retrospect I really think they had a clear communication and content strategy. Once they established some mass market traction, they launched into phase two…

Leveraging the awareness of OSG, OSG marketers began carrying on conversations with celebs like Christina Applegate and Alyssa Milano, as well as every day Joes. And they all want to talk to him. I don’t think this would have been the case without the traditional media spend they invested in early on (proving my oft made point that social media is just a tactic in the marketer’s arsenal, not a strategy). Add to that well thought out social content with broad appeal and you’ve created a viral need for others to also engage with OSG. I have never seen anything like this.

It’s customized, mass market, 1:1 marketing over a social landscape. Incredible job… I guess the question I have is – will this help sell more Old Spice??? Curious as to whether or not people are embracing this as purely entertainment or if Old spice is building brand loyalty here (in fact I may just ask him). Your thoughts?

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B2B data capture, tool or customer repellent?

Stumbled upon a very interesting blog that really resonated with me. Having many moons ago come from credit card marketing, I believe customer intelligence is king. The more we know, the more we can deliver the right product and message…but of course, in financial services, customer information is a given. Quality and risk inherently justify the collection of personal information.

So what about in B2B marketing? Do the same rules apply…if not, when is it acceptable to gather data? B2B marketers talk about things like “Thought Leadership”, we push whitepapers and case studies, and ultimately hope people read them. But if we want people to read, share, evangelize, then why do we create obstacles like data capture?

Short answer, in my opinion, is that its what we’ve always done. The problem is that the rules have changed. There is so much content out there. Google is a one-way ticket to information overload. If you don’t get me what I want, I’ll go somewhere else. End of story. So if you need to collect information (or at least*think* you do), here’s some tips…

1) Is it information that I would be comfortable giving – Once you ask for my address, that’s just broadcasting your intent to send me junk mail. Unless you are uniquely positioned to provide crucial, relevant information, I will probably close the window. And as a colleague of mine pointed out yesterday, how many of us have NEVER given fake email or mailing address?

2) Is the information quick to provide, or am I going to have to think about it? Example – I HATE long drop-downs… I never know which of the bajillion options to choose, so I usually just randomly select one or skip the capture all together. Which again, goes back to the actual integrity of the data capture. The more complicated, the more useless the information will ultimately be.

3) Have you given me a preview of the content first? Do I know what I’m getting myself into or am I going to give you a ton of information only to find that you’ve handed me over a brochure promoting your company and product? Talk about ruining the customer experience. This among all things is a big peeve of mine. Data capture is a trade, a business transaction, and my information is worth more than a lousy, self-promoting, brochure.

Wrapping up, I will admit that I am guilty of data capture, but only as a means of timely, relevant follow up. Always take a customer-back approach and consider how your customer will feel. This is not rocket science, but judging from all the registration screens I see everyday, its something that B2B marketers sorely neglect.

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Retreating in a downturn

eMarketer recently published a story on marketing budgets, and surprise surprise, the majority of marketing budgets are getting cut globally. From traditional advertising all the way to social media.  Obviously no one is going to criticize  a business for shedding costs in this environment, but it has always struck me as counter-intuitive that we choose not to take the offensive while our competition retreats, and then when brighter days finally arrive, we shake off the dust only to compete with more opponents for a smaller piece of the pie.

Now is the time to get out there! Now is the time to win the hearts and minds of struggling consumers and small businesses; customers who just need a little TLC.  Now is the time to claw our way back into favor, to earn back a little bit of the trust that big business has lost. While hiding is certainly a safe play, it will never be a winning play.

I recently read about a restaurant in Europe that, in response to the downturn, was not charging patrons for meals. Instead, patrons were encouraged to leave whatever they felt was a fair price for what they consumed. Mind you, probably not a long-term strategy, but in times of hardship that’s a service that resonates with people and builds reciprocity. Never underestimate the power of reciprocity! No doubt this move has carved out a prime piece of real estate in the customers’ consideration set.

To be fair the study went on to say that spending will be flat to up in online categories like paid search and email. That’s understandable – those tactics are inexpensive, measurable, and have a clear line of sight to revenue generating activities. Both are also more targeted than mass media. But in my experience online budgets are also relatively small pieces of the overall marketing pie to begin with… which means even with minor increases in budget we’re still underinvested when it comes to online marketing.

With that in mind I challenge you to be bold – to think long term. The field will always be cluttered, but as companies pull back, the field is becoming less cluttered and you have an opportunity to vie for a bigger piece of  the customers’ mindshare. They may not buy from you today, but they also won’t forget about you tomorrow.

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