“Let’s Get Together on a Social Level”

By Jamie Allebach

Wouldn’t it be enlightening to go to a party with your customers? The people who are buying your products? Personally meet them and spark conversation, answer questions, ask questions, share information and pass along value. It would be awesome, and man, would you build your brand and sell more product!

The problem is…how do you personally meet 1,000 customers, or 100,000 or 1,000,000?

by Todd Bergey

While marketers and brand managers of consumer packaged goods are pursuing every option to reduce their advertising spend without hurting their brand equity among consumers, the consumers are being propelled by the economic news and financial uncertainty to find ways to save money with each trip to the store. In the short term, it feels like the right thing to do for CPG companies, but in the long run, it raises questions like what will this cost and how long will it take to regain your brand exposure in the heart and mind of consumers.

What is interesting in our current market is that CPG companies may very well be more guilty of trading brand loyalty for price, than the consumer. Cutting advertising budgets “to survive” is no different than a consumer trading “down” from your product to a lower-priced product “to survive” — that’s if it’s all about survival. As advertisers, we would love to be able to reach out to each of these consumers to convince them to believe that our product is better and needs to remain part of their life. Yet the very means in which we have used to create brand awareness and foster brand loyalty for our product is the main element of our business that is being reduced – advertising. Seems backwards.

Case Study: HatfieldFamilyClassics.com 'Join the Family' Online Database: First 2 months, 800 members

Incentive: Online Coupon for '$2 Off Hatfield Family Classics Easy & Complete Family Meals' for all who register.

Supported by: TV Spot, 30 & 60 second radio spots, packaging, website, online coupons, FSI, coupon hand-outs.

With the state of today’s economy, the increasing sales of Private Label brands, and more and more consumers going online to seek out coupons and product news, it’s more important than ever for brands to ‘connect’ with consumers.

In the movie, “What Women Want”(2000), starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, they humorously depicted what goes on in a woman’s mind. Really knowing a woman and paying attention to what matters to her can make a big difference – in a personal relationship or in marketing your product.

I’ve read recently that women control or influence 85% of all purchase decisions. Often called the CFOs of their families, women influence what food, children’s clothes, home decorating, furniture, appliances, entertaining, vacations, etc., their family purchases. With that much involvement- what matters to a woman, should matter to you.

Consumers today are being bombarded with messages at (almost) every waking moment. Through traditional media - TV, Radio, Billboards, and the many social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn to name a few. All are effective methods of relaying your brand message, however, there is nothing like interacting with your customers face-to-face.

Live event marketing experiences where consumers can interact with your brand, experience your products, and engage in conversation with your "brand ambassadors" face-to-face are some of the most effective ways to influence your current and prospective consumer audiences. These live events could be in the form of conferences, impromptu “street team” events, paid event sponsorships or even community sponsored events. Live events are especially effective in food and beverage marketing, because they create experiences that appeal to all of the senses - fully immersing the consumer in your brand. For example, one of our clients, Hatfield Quality Meats, maximized the experiential aspects of a recent sponsorship opportunity. The event took place over a long weekend with consumers actually “living” on-site for the duration. A “street team” of brand ambassadors randomly visited these temporary residents and gave away free-product that they could throw on their grill and cook-up for dinner as well as product coupons for future purchases. One qualification – the recipient had to be prominently displaying the branded bumper sticker provided to them. The live event was a fantastic success. The street team generated a buzz, got people talking and actually seeking out street team members. The brand was displayed throughout the event area, consumers had the opportunity to taste, smell and experience the product first hand and were engaged with the brand ambassadors. Safe to say they’ll remember this experience and the brand that delivered it to them.

By Bennett Andelman, Allebach Communications, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Micro-blogs, social networks, wikis...all great vehicles for the new age of marketing. However, if the brand you are marketing isn't remarkable, ins't that "purple cow", then no matter what media you choose to use to communicate your message, your audience will move on...in fact, they probably have moved on.

Today, the marketing world is made up millions of messages, each trying to grab the attention of a similar consumer or business profile. How do you break through the endless clutter? Create chatter? Increase your share of voice...and oh yes, ensure ROI? Well, that's simple. BE DIFFERENT. CHANGE THE GAME. STEP AWAY FROM THE BOX.

Easier said then done. We know. In Seth Godin's best selling book, Purple Cow, available online at http://www.sethgodin.com/purple, he provides a clear action plan as well as a needed punch in the virtual face to all marketers that think they can pitch the same old stuff that people already have too much of and expect a different outcome. Oh, you have a new cola...and it tastes like cola...and you have a small marketing budget...yeah, not going to work.

As we have all seen and heard within the past several months, the “big boys” of the media world are pulling back and making way for others. In fact, if you’ve been watching your local news or better yet, highly priced and ranked shows like American Idol recently, you might be noticing a different strand of advertisers popping up. Since big spenders are cutting back, this allows for buyers to purchase time periods that might not have been possible for them in recent years. At the moment, spot TV is becoming more and more aggressively priced, making it a great time to advertise.

This situation also holds true in the print arena. While it might not seem like the best thing for a trade or consumer magazine to be thinning out, attention to the advertisers that remain is heightened. Some publications are being forced to cut back in size and/or editorial content. Given the scenario at hand, I try to look at the positive: less editorial content ultimately results in less competition for readers’ attention.

Behavioral Target Marketing
By Jamie Allebach, Allebach Communications, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“We need to make the most out of every dollar in our marketing budget”. “ROI, ROI, and more ROI”. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard these words over the past 2 years, I could retire from this crazy business that I love.

No matter how much the creatives scream, “no, no, no, it’s all about the creativity and ideas”, I must agree, ROI seems to be ruling the day. Bottom line, as marketers, if we’re not getting the highest value of return on budget dollars, we’re not doing your job.

And it would appear that I’m not in the minority of those who think this way. eMarketer (hyperlink http://www.emarketer.com) predicts that the total spend on behavior targeting will exceed a billion dollars this year, and continue to rapidly grow, topping 4 billion by 2012.

On April 17, 2009, Oprah sent out her first tweet on Twitter.com. For interested parties the Tweet said: “HI TWITTERS. THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY.” My first thought, as a marketer, was that the tipping point was just televised. Even better, if I required concrete confirmation it came a day later in numbers: Twitter saw a whopping 37% increase in visits to the Twitter.com homepage. All new visitors. Each one signing up for a Twitter account.

Impressive numbers, indeed. Now let me continue by saying all of us at Allebach are big believers in social media as a vehicle for brands to get their message out to the public – and let’s face it, Oprah is a pretty big brand. As strategic, forward thinkers, we clearly see how powerful the word of mouth potential is on sites like Twitter and Facebook. However, more often than not, we also find our clients asking why social media is important to their brand. Isn’t social media just a passing fad? Does it really matter? Isn’t it something for kids – “not something my customers are using?”

By Kevin Schluth, Account Executive, Allebach Communications

I read The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell before I was familiar with viral marketing or social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.

As my Facebook addiction grew, I realized that Gladwell’s ‘Law of the Few,’ and how it related to Paul Revere’s Ride, applied to a recent article I read in AdAge about Coke’s Facebook success.

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