Online & Offline Marketing – The Perfect Couple… For A Break Up

Online and Offline Integration

As organizations are beefing up their digital strategies, one of the most challenging issues they will face it integration. As many marketing teams are divided by specialization delivering 1 consistent message can be difficult – particularly in larger organizations.

The importance of channel integration

Integration of your online and offline marketing is critical to maximize results. People no longer consider where a brand message is sourced. To them, they live their lives both online and offline without separation – it’s all just part of their everyday lives now, interwoven into one cohesive experience.

So if they online and offline activities are aligned and well coordinated effectiveness of each channel can deliver maximum impact.

Online and Offline IntegrationA case study on integration

The recent NAB break up campaign, is one great example of integration across online and offline channels.
Whether you like the campaign or not it does seem to be having the desired effect for the bank by getting consumers to switch. According to NAB, in the three-and-a-half weeks since launch the bank experienced a 20 per cent increase in new transaction account openings; a 50 per cent increase in credit card applications; a 45 per cent increase in home loan refinancing, and a 35 per cent increase in home loan inquiries. And whilst the promotional spend has been significant, campaign effectiveness is being maximized through a well planned and executed combination of online and offline activities.
Let’s take a closer look at how online and offline tactics are being utilized in combination to achieve campaign goals and to deliver a consistent message to the market.

A blended launch approach got tongues wagging

The campaign started on Twitter, carried over to print then involved a number of guerrilla marketing stunts, and subsequent release of online videos all in a matter of the first few days of the campaign. By combining engagement channels with those of reach and frequency for the initial launch, NAB captured the attention of audiences which fuelled conversation and buzz within the first few days. If social was used in isolation I doubt that NAB would have been able to gain momentum as quickly as they had by utilizing the integrated approach.

Maximising offline investment online

NAB has invested a significant amount of spend in offline advertising to reach the masses. The campaign has leveraged an array of media from billboards and outdoor, to TVC, radio and in-store promotion to gets its break up message into the market. Investment like this of course delivers strong brand awareness and hopefully some change in brand perception. However aside from this it also drives many consumers to act and this could occur offline in a branch or online.

As graph 1 suggests, Google trends depicts a significant increase in brand related search since NAB launched its campaign. And the bank is ensuring that the effort and value derived from its offline activity is not experiencing online leakage to other brands. Searches for NAB break up reveal paid search ads, which drive users directly to the branded content on a dedicated landing page. NAB has also added “break up” site links within its more general paid search campaigns to ensure consumers looking for campaign content can find it easily. Whilst this may sound obvious many brands fail to do this and a lot of the hard work and spend can be lost.

TVC & Online Video Combo

Online TVTraditional TVCs, which deliver good entertainment value, thrive in the online environment. As consumers discuss campaigns offline or even in social space users will migrate to platforms like YouTube to see what all of the fuss is about. Last year ANZ showed how additional reach and frequency can be had through leveraging TVC assets in the video space but with this campaign NAB went one better. NAB not only released TVCs on YouTube, they also created 50 break up videos for the campaign.

Combining these 2 mediums would deliver far more reach and frequency than adoption of 1 channel. TVCs with good entertainment value can create a pull effect for users to re-engage with the content online and as NAB has created additional branded content – this provides consumers with other digital assets to view and share with their network. In addition by providing access to TVCs and other video content online, NAB is also able to reach audiences who predominantly spend their time consuming media online.

Aside from the benefits detailed above, NAB has also adopted the same rationale to video based search as it has to text based search. Its unique campaign idea and media strategy has driven many to seek out the branded content on YouTube and to ensure brand leakage does not occur NAB has sponsored video’s on YouTube to appear when “break up” searches are conducted.

Watch: Online and Offline Marketing Integration

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On The Digital Politics Campaign Trail With Some Clever Little Lemons

Days of Digital Politics

Since my previous post it seems that both political parties have really taken their online marketing efforts up a notch. Julia Gillard’s Twitter following has ballooned in a short few months – growing to 36,000 followers, and both parties are adopting paid search to educate the Australian public about their stance on the big issues.

What however initially struck me about the marketing efforts (both online and offline marketing) of both political parties, is that political marketing hasn’t really changed over the past decade. We see the same ads on TV ridiculing the opposition and the same brash push marketing tactics that attempt to scare us into choosing 1 party over another. Well so I thought anyway.

Labour Lemons YouTube Video’s

Labour Lemons Youtube ChannelIt is refreshing to see that at least 1 party is leveraging the online channel in a way that is engaging the Australian public. The Liberal Party has decided to use YouTube as 1 of the channels in the marketing mix to market itself and they are doing so in a unique way. Liberalparty.tv has released a series of humorous and entertaining videos – featuring what they term the “Labour Lemons”.

With 3 videos released so far – the Labour Lemon video series seem to be making a few waves on YouTube. Together the 3 videos have received over 130,000 views and with the 3rd released as late as last Friday the 5th of August, this is sure to increase. These videos have outperformed the standard propaganda style marketing video content so often seen in politics and I no doubt believe given the success so far that we will probably see 1 more released before election day.

To view all of the videos in the series click here – http://www.youtube.com/user/LiberalPartyTV

Getting the most out of video

YouTube if leveraged in the right way can provide political marketers with a valuable channel to get their message to the masses. YouTube receives over 12 million unique Australian visitors per month and is obviously one of the ideal mediums for political parties to communicate their message. In this instance the “Labour Lemons” video series lends itself well to the social space – as content that is interesting or entertaining enough moves virally through popular social networks.

However I do feel there is more that the Liberal Party could be doing to gain maximum reach for their video content in the run up to the election. The first is utilising YouTube’s promotional opportunities to increase awareness and eyeballs to the content. Just last month we saw Cadbury trial a 1 day homepage buy out on YouTube – an opportunity which provides a brand with exposure to millions of Australians visiting YouTube daily. In addition the Labour Party is using sponsored video links in YouTube search results to promote its video’s on YouTube – an opportunity that the Liberal Party is yet to explore. Through greater awareness of these video’s, the Liberal Party would most likely see the viral effect treble.

Aside from online activity – it would be great to see the Liberal Party using these video’s as part of their TVCs to adopt a more integrated approach. Earlier this year we saw ANZ very successfully extend the reach of their offline “bank world” TVCs through YouTube.

With that said, I applaud the Liberal Party for trying something a little bit different and breaking the political marketing mould.

Have you seen some interesting and unique ways that either political party is leveraging the online channel? If so please share them below.

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The Next Big Thing – Social Search?

Facebook and Twitter Search

There is no doubt that over the past few years search marketers have turned their attention to social media as a key channel to support the viral creation of links and to dominate SERPs onsite and offsite. However whilst most of our attention has been focussed around ranking in Google – many of us have failed to see the search opportunity that has grown within social networks and now many social networks such as Twitter search channels in their own right.

The sheer volume of users on social networks has even Google shaking in their boots and for good reason. Over the past few years Google’s direct search competitors have attempted to take on Google in the search race without denting their share. However in the meantime an unlikely competitor has risen to the top. Facebook has captured the attention of users on the internet and is now dominating the users internet experience attracting more visitors than Google in the month of May. And whilst the primary function of Facebook and other platforms like Twitter is not to search – social search is becoming significant. In fact according to a recent Nielsen study, social media sites such as Wikipedia, blogs, and social networks account for 18% of where searches begin. If this is the case social search is much bigger than Bing and Yahoo search combined in Australia.

Why is this so? In a recent article on Search Engine Watch – Mark Drummond put it nicely – “Facebook brings an entirely new opportunity for flavored search: ranking search results using the social connections between people, as captured in the open graph. What Google lacks is intimate knowledge of our interests and plans to proactively deliver information to us and this is precisely the advantage that Facebook has over Google.

Social Search Facts For Facebook & Twitter

Facebook

Facebook SearchFacebook racked up over 600 million searches in May 2010. Compare this to January 2009 where search volumes were a mere 161 million and it is obvious to see that Facebook search is becoming a sizeable opportunity. A significant portion of searches are obviously related to people search as the average query length on Facebook is 2 words – however search is starting to evolve to cover topics related to fashion, electronics and travel. What is however most interesting is that Facebook are actively focussing on improving search within its eco-system with the launch of Open Graph. By leveraging content from its “LIKE” feature combined with sites actively integrating with Facebook ie like TripAdvisor, Facebook has started to collate content to serve up to users when they search for a particular theme or topic. Whilst still in a very premature stage – get it right and this could significantly move the goal posts in the search landscape as content is served up on the basis of user popularity. For more on Facebook search – refer here.

Twitter

Twitter SearchIt is hard to pin point accurate statistics for Twitter search with reports ranging from 350 million to 18 billion searches per month. Regardless of this, the numbers are sizeable. Combine this with content that finds users – rather than users searching for content and there is no doubt that Twitter presents a significant opportunity for businesses. But this doesnt come without a high level of competition. Twitter reporting more than four billion tweets are sent using the service in a given month – that is a lot of content that could appear within the SERPs thus optimisation is key.

What To Do About Social Search? 

Some of the normal rules still apply such as effectively tagging content, using descriptive keywords and the rest but what else do you need to consider?

Optimisation for Facebook

Facebook has released documentation to effectively embed tags onsite for open graph. By doing so you turn your web pages into graph objects, which will enable these pages to become part of the eco-system. For more information on the important tags that should be utilised refer to the below link;

http://developers.facebook.com/docs/opengraph

Optimisation for Twitter

In the 2nd half of 2010, Twitter is planning to launch Twitter annotations. The full benefits of this feature is not clear however it is believed to provide the ability to augment our 140 characters with other useful information to assist Twitter to more effectively understand the content its users are sharing. With this I expect a series of key optimisation techniques to emerge to improve your visibility within Twitter search. I also assume this will be combined with an improved search engine on Twitter so users can filter and sort information to find what they are looking for.

Have you begun to optimise your site for social search? If so share some of your experiences below.

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Online Retailing – Unfashionable Down Under

About a year ago I first broached the topic of the lack of digital investment by Australian retailers, and 1 year on it seems whilst we have progressed we are still falling further behind the digital 8 ball. This trend seems to ring true – particularly within the fashion sector whereby Australia is hemorrhaging online sales to overseas counterparts.

Online Australian Consumers Wont Wait For Fashion Retailers

Online Retail WebsiteAccording to stats released by the online retailers conference in Australia more than 45 per cent of all online retail sales are currently going offshore from Australia. This compares with just 14 per cent in 2005. And whilst fashion is not the only segment whereby Aussie retailers are missing out to overseas competition, it seems that international fashion retailers are actively pursuing Australian consumer $$$$ and are rubbing their hands together in the process.

According to a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald, several British and US retailers have exploited the lack of investment in eCommerce fashion in Oz. In April, the British online designer boutique Asos.com listed Australia as its fourth-strongest international market behind the US Denmark and France and Net-a-Porter also lists Australia as ”one of its biggest international markets”. Whilst America’s Revolveclothing.com says Australia is its third biggest market outside the US.
It therefore seems Australian consumers have a healthy appetite for buying fashion online and are going abroad because of the lack of choice in the local market.

Can Clothing Retailers Afford Not To Do It?

Many Australian fashion retailers are still yet to realise the value in online retailing, however there are a select few that have made an investment in the space and are deriving significant value from their online stores. Witchery, for example, lists its online store as its fourth most profitable outlet, out of 80 stores nationally. And Mimco, which is owned by Witchery Holdings, ranks its online store as its 10th most successful, with turnover of about $90,000 a month.

However it is not only profitability and revenue that is delivering value for brands. Online stores have provided brands such as Guess and Sportsgirl with the ability to reach out to consumers in cities and towns that are not close by to bricks and mortar outlets;

Simon Nankervis, Managing Director of busbrands which owns the rights to Guess in Australia said about 80% of the sales within the past week have been from areas where Guess does not operate a retail location, and he wants it to stay that way. “This is being done by consumers where there is no retail location, such as the Northern Territory, or like in other parts of Western Australia as we only have one store in Perth.”

The Threat Of Inaction

online fashion retailForrester Research predicts Australian online spending will grow to $32 billion by 2012, with further evidence to suggest that this could just be the beginning. Figures from IBISWorld show that online sales may eventually reach $75 billion as more retailers increase the efficiency and reliability of their online channels.

Fashion retailers need to realise that getting the right mix for success is not an easy task in the online world and fashion retailers need to be ramping up their online stores now to;

1) Gain a larger slice of the current consumer online fashion spend
2) Ensure that they are well established to capitalise on the future revenue opportunity which is presenting itself.
Inaction is not an option – if eCommerce and digital strategies do not become fashionable for Australian clothing retailers soon, the brands that do not move with the times maybe left behind like last seasons unpopular lines.
What are your thoughts on the lack of eCommerce investment by Australia’s fashion retailers?

Article References
www.smartcompany.com.au/retail/20100217-fashion-brand-guess-opens-web-store-in-bid-to-expand-retail-reach.html+online+fashion+retailing+australia&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/fashion/new-york-london-paris-prized-labels-just-a-click-away-20100515-v5j7.html
http://www.insideretailing.com.au/Latest/tabid/53/ID/8174/Aussie-retail-dollars-head-overseas.aspx

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SEO Roundtable / Conversation Cafe in Melbourne

SEO Marketing

If you currently working in an SEO role or in the digital space and are interested in joining a discussion about the state of the search market in Australia then this event could be for you. As one of the facilitators at the SEO roundtable in Melbourne being held by Internet Retailing, it would be great to see a range of client side and agency SEO / marketing professionals at the event!

Running for a 2 hour period (from 6 – 8pm), this event aims to bring people together to discuss the latest techniques being used to improve organic search results. If you are interested in coming along please visit the URL below.

Hope to see you there.

http://www.internetretailing.com.au/learn-about-seo.html

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40 Mind Blowing Australian Digital Statistics

compilation of Digital Statistics 2009

It’s been a big year in digital for Australia. And a big year should be rounded off with my biggest compilation of digital statistics. So here they are;

General Internet Usage Statistics

1. At the end of June this year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported 8.4million active internet subscribers in Australia. Sunshine Coast Daily, June 2009
2. According to ComScore Australia’s internet population over the age of 15 in 2009 grew to 12.6 million Australians from 11.3 in 2008. ComScore, November 2009
3. 19% of Australia’s internet population is 55+, 18% is 45 – 54, 21% is 35 – 44, 20% is 25 – 34 & 21% is 15 – 24. ComScore, November 2009

4. In October, Australian users spent 27.2 hours browsing online. Nielsen, November 2009
5. According to ComScore some of the most popular retail categories visited online by Australian internet users include Computer Hardware 22.4% of internet users, Books 21.4% of internet users& comparison shopping sites 18.2%. ComScore, November 2009
6. Around 3 million Australians illegally download music every year, that is 1 in 4 Australian internet users. November 2009

Social Media MarketingSocial Media

7. A study on social networking usage in Australia, found more than 70 percent of Internet users in Australia visited a social networking site in June, up 29 percent from the previous year. ComScore, August 2009
8. Facebook’s now accounts for 29 per cent of all time spent online by Australians – this has seen research group Nielsen define the trend as Facebook Time and Non Facebook Time.Nielsen, November 2009
9. October social networking usage – Facebook’s unique audience was 8.1 million, followed by MySpace which was steady on 2.3 million users while Bebo lagged well behind on 358,000. Nielsen, November 2009
10. Australian Facebook users uploaded 80 million pictures, wrote 32 million wall posts and 45 million status updates in October. Nielsen, November 2009
11. Twitter growth in the past 12 months in Australia equates to 1150%. November 2009

12. 79.1% of internet users in Australia view online video. Universal McCann, July 2009
13. YouTube receives 6.17 million monthly Australian visitors. ComScore, 2009
14. Wikipedia received 5.2 million Australian visitors. Nielsen, November 2009
15. Blogger received 3.1 million Australian visitors. Nielsen, November 2009
16. Yahoo!7 Answers received 2.5 million Australia visitors. Nielsen, November 2009

Online Advertising

Ad Placement17. Australians are some of the least likely to click on online display ads in the world. Latin America and Europe record double the CTR in Rich Media than that of Australasia and North America with the global average standing at .1%. Eyeblaster Research, 2009
18. One third of Australian consumers exposed to an online ad are able to recall that ad when asked. Nielsen Online, November 2009.
19. Australia’s online advertising industry hit record levels for Q3, with online ad spend now equating to $466 million. IAB Australia, November 2009
20. Search and Directories account for 51 percent of the total advertising expenditure in Oz General Display accounts for 26 percent and Classifieds 23 percent based on Q3 2009. IAB Australia, November 2009

21. Search and Directories grew 12 percent for Q3 year on year; while General Display declined 3.8 percent and Classifieds declined 5 percent. IAB Australia, November 2009
22. Online video advertising equates to 4% of the total general display advertising market in Australia. IAB Australia, November 2009
23. CPM advertising equates to 75 percent of the general display category, with only 22 percent reported for response and 3 percent for hybrid in Australia. IAB Australia, November 2009
24. Finance, Computers & Communications and Motor Vehicles dominant General Display advertising, comprising of 42 percent of the General Display spending. IAB Australia, November 2009

Mobile Phone

Mobile Internet Usage Habits25. A third of all Australians now check emails on their handset. Australian Interactive Media Industry Association Survey, September 2009
26. Year on year Australians accessing social media sites from their handset have grown from 7% to 32%. Australian Interactive Media Industry Association Survey, September 2009
27. Telsyte forecasts that mobile ad spend will grow to $20 million by the end of 2009 from just $7 million in 2008. Business Spectator, November 2009
28. Page views of Australian mobile internet sites grew 24.4% between October 2008 and July 2009. July 2009

29. 39% of Australian respondents stated in a recent survey that they would accept ads on their mobile phone in exchange for free mobile content or special offers. AIMIA, September 2009
30. 43% of Australian respondents stated in a recent survey that they had used their phones to carry out a mobile search in the last 12 months, compared to 47% who stated they intend to do so in the next 12 months. AIMIA, September 2009
31. 25% of respondents have used their mobile phone for banking in the last 12 months. Males, (26–40 year olds), and those single or living independently are more likely to use the phone for banking. AIMIA, September 2009
32. 14% of respondents to a recent survey stated they have used their mobile phone to buy things not for their mobile phone. Males, those living single independently, and those 25 years and under were also more likely to use their mobile phone to pay for other things.AIMIA, September 2009

eCommerce
33. About three per cent of retail spending is online in Australia, whereas in the USA and the UK it is between six and eight per cent. November 2009
34. Australian online shoppers spend about US$1000 per year online. November 2009
35. In Australia 27 per cent of online shoppers prefer to pay with PayPal which is the 2nd strongest market for PayPal globally. Nielsen, 2009

Search
Onsite Search36. In Australia year on year there has been a decrease in one word search terms of 2.3% and two word search terms of 1.9%. Hitwise, November 2009
37. Search requests longer than three words have increased over the past 12 months by 2.8%. Four – words have increased 1.2% and 5 words plus have seen a solid increase over the past two years, with a 1.2% increase in the past 12 months. Hitwise, November 2009
38. Bing’s search queries having a far greater proportion of single and two word requests, 56.2% versus Google.com.au’s 46.7%, Google.com’s 47.0% and Yahoo!7 Search’s 48.1%.Hitwise, November 2009

39. Google’s share of search as at 1st week of November was 87.79%, whilst Bing was 4.59% and Yahoo was 6.27%. Hitwise, November 2009
40. According to Hitwise search is the largest online category in Australia at 12% followed by social media at 10%. Hitwise, November 2009

References

http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/aussies-call-an-end-to-just-phoning-on-mobiles-20090929-ga33.html
http://www.thesheet.com/nl06_news_selected.php?act=2&stream=1&selkey=9187&hlc=2&hlw=
http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,26380786-23272,00.html
http://www.iabaustralia.com.au/index.php?/news/story/online_advertising_posts_highest_quarter_ever_-_466_million
http://www.aimia.com.au/enews/mobile/090929%20AIMIA_Report_FINAL.pdf

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A Long Long Road Ahead – Australia’s Digital Industry

Australia's Digital Industry

6 weeks ago I returned to Australia after a 2 years of working in the UK digital industry.

Despite keeping a very close eye on the market here I felt like a freshie jumping back into the Australian digital pond. And so now as I establish myself in my new role and am getting re-acquainted with the market I feel I am well equipped to give a outsiders views on our industry – before I become completely sub-merged in it.

Since returning I have invested a lot of time in establishing a digital roster and also found time to attend the Digital Marketing & Media Summit 2009 in Melbourne. All of this listening and active dialogue with “experts” in the space has allowed me to draw some conclusions on the state of our market – which demonstrate some very harsh realities. It’s a long long road ahead!

Let’s start with agencies – over the past few weeks I have met with a whole host of agencies ranging from so called search experts to digital generalists and whilst there are some shining stars, the rest resemble cowboys in the wild west. I am amazed by the many high profile search agencies that sell their automated link building services through their “network” of sites, and digital agencies who clearly display a lack of basic knowledge of how to structure an email template. So it is no wonder there is not a flurry of digital case studies demonstrating successful monetization of the channel here in Australia.

Digital Marketing & Media Summit 2009However the cream on my digital cake was today when I attended the Digital Marketing & Media Summit 2009 which showcased what should have been the creme de la creme of the industry. Putting aside the few star performers, the majority left me wondering where some of the truly good examples are hiding. To hear Nissan’s agency discuss their latest campaign was a real eye opener. Their agency expressed as part of the z370 launch there was a Facebook page which low and behold resulted in replies from consumers to their surprise. So what happened? This caused a problem because no one could monitor it therefore their move into social media was considered by the agency as an unsuccessful attempt showing the sheer lack of knowledge of the space.

Or perhaps what was more frightening was the iSpyLevi case study where the agency was asked if the campaign showed any contribution to sales which the agency replied that they didn’t know. I understand that social media doesn’t always have a direct flow on effect but with such a high profile campaign surely there was some uplift and what’s more surely the agency would want to know this important information. And to top it off during the campaign period they took their site down, in a time where users should most likely be attracted to their site to possibly buy.

So in an industry where client side professionals are dependent on agencies to advice, it’s no wonder senior executives are still worried if an investment in a certain area of digital will pay dividends.

So faced with this market, what is a client marketer to do? From one client side marketer to another here are my top tips to navigate the agency landscape and find suppliers who get digital;

1) Client side marketers need to invest more time to learn about digital from the local and global industry. Gather your knowledge from trusted sources and retrain yourself so you can make educated decisions. Sites such as digitalministry.com.au, internetretailing.com.au and even the blog onlinemarketingbanter.com are great places to start locally. Globally leverage sites such as eConsultancy.com, sphinn.com (which is a social bookmarking site for marketers) or davechaffey.com for digital in general or for search usesearchengineland.com, seomoz.org or even seobook.com
2) Question your agency and re-question their abilities. If they have done one campaign it doesn’t make them an expert – and if they are a traditional agency question if they really have the ability and knowledge in the digital space. Your brand is not a playground for experimentation.
3) Meet with lots of suppliers before making a decision. There are good agencies out there but you need to spend the time to find them.
Social Media Metrics4) Go by recommendations; Of the few digital professionals you trust or look up to on the client side – seek their recommendations PS if you are still unsure on this one and need some help drop me a line am happy to provide recommendations.
5) What about the metrics – Find out what the agency has delivered – not just view their creative. Many agencies are so proud of their micro-sites and mobile apps that they haven’t had time to stop and measure what they have delivered. Yes this in a space which has far more measurability than any other.
6) Ask for transparency – This is particularly crucial for search – if an agency cannot provide visibility of your AdWords account or will not tell you what they are doing to get you to rank in Google then run for the hills. If your site gets blacklisted for bad SEO behaviour your URL will be stripped from the index with a slim chance to return or rank again.

What do you think about the Australian digital industry? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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Has Google Stepped Away From Its Motto – Don’t Be Evil?

I have a slight problem, one which I struggle with and well it is in fact a big problem……. it’s Google. Google has changed our lives and is probably one of the or if not the most influential brands of our time. But since Google was formed in the university dorms by the Google Guys a lot has changed and it seems Google has forgotten the very core of what they stand for – don’t be evil!

Looking at it from a marketers perspective I am torn about how I feel about the brand. On the one hand, I am concerned by their domination in search and how the lack of competition will drive up paid search costs in the coming years. This will have a massive impact and price many small businesses out of the market, which are those same businesses who over the past 5 years have built their business around the search engine.

However on the other hand I am grateful for the way they have transformed the online media industry almost forcing platforms to move to a cost per action model enabling marketers to deliver guaranteed return from investment. And even more so I am pleased to see Google keeping the “bastards honest” as they say in the analytics industry.

And whilst I hold high admiration for their level of innovation I am concerned just how far Google will go in the name of profit. You see the bottom line is Google is a media company. And like any media company Google must enhance the user experience as much as possible to keep the money rolling in – and this is at the expense of many industries that fund their own existence.
So whilst Google dominates the search landscape this is not enough for them. Google has their eyes firmly set on 3 core areas. So what are they and what is the impact on the existing market players and the industry.

Smartphones1. Mobile Space

Google knows the mobile battle ground is one that needs to be fought given its potential in the coming years. However for once it has some stiff competition with Apple. It although seems the pursuit to innovate will impact more than just Apple themselves. Only 2 days ago Google announced their intentions to weave technology for driving directions and road data into new versions of its Android operating system for smartphones, which is wrecking havoc to the Satellite Navigation industry.

2. Own Vertical Segments

Google also realises that horizontal search engines don’t cut the mustard like they used to. Engines that are able to aggregate different forms of data and provide a more rich user experience throughout the various stages of decision making will dominate the search landscape. As such in Australia Google has its sights set on the property sector having released their own property search overlay on Google Maps. In addition if we look further afield to the US we see that Google has also made a move into the mortgage market. Google has also shown they want a greater share of the music pie launching “OneBox” in conjunction with MySpace’s iLike and Lala.com. This is definitely just the beginning and unfortunately this could spell an end to the aggregator models that dominate industries such as jobs, finance and even travel.

Social Media Strategy3. Social media

This is definitely one area that is threatening Google’s revenue model. Users are spending increasing amounts of time on social sites. As a category in Australia social media is about to overtake search engines and this is likely to be similar across the world. Google’s latest move in the social search space is its first major step to try to bring consumers back to Google by acting as a central source for their social media activities.

Google’s social search also aggregates a users social circle activities with existing search results – adding a more dynamic way of aggregating social elements into the existing search infrastructure. View more information here. This combined with Google Wave signals there need to be getting a greater slice of the pie in this market. But this is one area that I think they can’t win and thus we will continue to see Google attempt to acquire some of the big boys as their efforts fall short of engaging consumers…….. at least for the next few years.

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7 Australian Social Media Examples & Case Studies

Social Media Marketing

With social media usage exploding in Australia, many Australian organisations are seriously considering social media to support the achievement of marketing objectives. And whilst the creation of Facebook fan pages and a Twitter account springs to many minds there is so much more opportunity out there.

This post provides a collection of social media examples from Australia to showcase some of the campaigns that have circulating our shores over the past 6 – 9 months and to inspire many more to come.

Tourism Queensland’s – Best Job In The World

The launch of a global campaign to find a caretaker of paradise island in Queensland saw Tourism Queensland generate over 203 million euro’s worth of PR globally from a spend of 570,000 euro’s. The competition drew 34,000 video entries from over 200 countries.

Australian Tourism – Leveraging Specialist Bloggers

Australian TourismTo extend its reach on the web Tourism Australia invited leading online opinion leaders to experience Australia. Tourism Australia aims to work with these key influencers to drive the desire in others to travel to Australia through positive word of mouth commentary.

View one of the posts

Sportsgirls Forum

Sportsgirl have stood up and taken note of the social shopping trends overseas and built their own online forum. Since its launch 3 months ago the forum shows very strong engagement and interaction and is definitely worth a mention.

Childcare Chat

With all of the previous bad PR circulating ABC Learning, ABC has launched an online forum to enable parents to share experiences and knowledge. This is definitely one of the more risky concepts given the negative high profile image of ABC Learning, however it demonstrates that the brand is willing to actively solicit conversations in an open forum about its brand whilst also providing a platform for peer to peer advice and knowledge to be shared.

View more about the strategy

Wrigley’s 5 Gum Launch

Wrigley's 5Gum CobaltWrigleys launched its new 5 gum chewing gum with an integrated campaign including various formats of social media including Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. It seems from results some social channels were more successful than others – but with over 15,000 viewers viewing YouTube video’s it is not a bad effort.

View more about the strategy
View their YouTube channel

Virgin Blues Tweet Sales

Virgin Blue trialled a new sales channel by offering 1000 $9 flights through Twitter to celebrate its 9th birthday. Flights were snapped up during the first day of the sale.

View more about the results

Borders Online Chain Story

Borders in-conjunction with James Patterson launched the worlds first chain story. James Patterson wrote the first and last chapter with aspiring writers and fans called on to write the remaining 28 chapters. A unique way to tap into the community, the campaign drummed up publicity on Fairfax and News Limited. Not to mention coverage on Radio National, ABC Radio Melbourne and Radio 2UE.

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This is obviously just a sample of some of the social media examples in Australia. If you know of others please share them below.

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It’s A Question of Digital Leadership

Digital Marketing Leaders

An interesting article was recently published on eTailToday.com.au which featured comments from Joe Dittmar, IBM Worldwide Executive for Websphere Commerce. In Dittmar’s opinion the next 2 years represents a pivotal time for eCommerce in Australia, but the market is falling short. And why? Dittmar revealed the current immaturity of the Australian online retail market was more about retailers failing to take the opportunities in front them.” And for me taking this opportunity boils down to an issue of digital leadership.

This is something I broached a few months ago in a post – detailing “Why Australian Organisations Don’t Do It”, however Dittmars recent comments has made me reflect and delve into this issue further.

Why is Australia Lacking Digital Leadership?

Digital Leadership Starts At Board Level

Senior Digital Marketing SpecialistRegardless of organisation size, digital leadership starts at the top. Whilst senior marketing professionals play a very significant role, it takes a strong personality with significant drive to change a mindset. Thus in most organisations, for digital to be truly effective, the strategy must be driven from the top and integrated with the organisations strategic direction. Unfortunately in Australia’s case, several large retailers still do not see the sizable opportunity that digital presents. Furthermore whilst others have made inroads on the digital front – their lack of intent to invest in the digital channel is a telling sign of their current success. The lack of buy-in particularly at executive level is still playing a significant role in hindering the Australian market and ultimately will see some retailers left behind.

Mid Level Digital Recruitment

Many organisations looking to invest in the digital arena for the first time, are looking to do so by hiring mid-weight or junior digital professionals. Whilst operationally these professionals will fill the immediate need, they fail to create a vision and lead an organisation into the digital future. In addition these individuals lack the breadth of digital knowledge that enables them to educate key stakeholders on the value of digital to an organisation. So whilst technical capability is paramount, individuals do not have the clout to lead organisational change, particularly early on in the digital journey.

The allure of abroad

It is a well known fact that Aussies love to travel and with many lucrative digital opportunities overseas, Australia loses its talent to overseas markets. In many markets such as the UK, talented client side digital talent is hard to come by and whilst the recession has paralysed marketing budgets, digital investment remains strong. With a lack of opportunity in the local market for senior talent to progress their career, those with solid skills do make the move – and still continue to do so despite the economy – which saps some of Australia’s best who will lead the revolution. I spoke to a prominent recruitment agency in the UK this week and one of their consultants advised me they have had more Aussies and Kiwis arrivals in July & August than they have had all year which demonstrates the drain of digital talent from Australian shores.

Will Digital Leadership Be Forced?

Digital Marketing LeadersSo the Australian market is ripe for the picking, and it is positive to see that some of the retailers are taking the big step and leading the way. Apart from the pure plays, brands such as Sportsgirl and now David Jones have really begun to embrace digital, but for others will digital leadership come to late or be forced? Internationally eyes are on Australia, brands who have succeeded in their home territory are looking to expand and Australia provides an ideal online landscape to do so – unsaturated and yet to be monetized. A lack of digital strategy could be commercial suicide – so now is the time for those at the top (both marketers and senior execs) to lead the digital charge and make the important digital decisions now not just for the short term but to secure a long and prosperous digital future.

Is your organisation suffering from digital leadership? Share your experience below.

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