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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Learning’s From SES London From My Couch In Melbourne

SEO Marketing

Last year when working in London, I had the privilege to attend SES the Search Engine Strategies conference in London. Being back on home soil obviously means that this year I have had to miss out however I have been following the guru’s who have attended the event to provide Australia’s digital network with some of the key learning’s from the event.

Overall from all the commentary it seems that there were no major new revelations but a lot of good nuggets to help SEOs improve their search strategy.

Conversions & Metrics

One of the hottest topics for the conference seemed to be centred around ways to drive intelligence out of your analytics to make more informed decisions about your search strategy. For too long SEOs have measured effectiveness of efforts through rankings and other superficial measures. However experts have taken the opportunity at this conference to challenge SEOs thinking. Below are some of the different ways SEOs should consider slicing and dicing their data to gain new insight (and in fact many of these can be applied to other channels to compare success).

1. Search term segmentation

Brand EngagementOne of the new measures organizations are looking at is to quantify brand engagement (I think it is more recall) through analyzing search and direct visitor traffic;

Brand Engagement (recall) = (Direct site visitors + Brand Searches) / (Total Search Visits + Direct Visits)

To me however search term segmentation extends well beyond generic vs brand terms. Grouping keywords into topics / related segments and analyzing onsite behavior and conversion is a useful way to understand how certain kinds of keywords are performing and where some of the best traffic / value is being derived from with your search activities. This analysis enables SEOs to determine where their effort is best spent.

2. Per visit values

The per visit value equation allows SEOs to go beyond traffic. This measure allows SEOs to determine how much value monetary or otherwise is on average delivered by each visitor to a site.

Visit Value: Goal Value Total From Search / Total Search Visits

By understanding this value SEOs can develop strategies to improve that value or alternatively use this information to forecast the future value that can be gained through further investment.

For non e-commence sites this one is often a little trickier, however like ecommerce sites traffic = revenue but just in a different form. Non revenue generating sites need to attribute advertising $$$ and value derived from visitors. By doing so non e-commerce sites can start to become more strategic in their analysis of value from search and traffic in general.

Aside from measurement and conversion some of the other important topics covered were related to content and strategy. Whilst I didn’t glean as much from these there are definitely some golden moments that are worth reiterating.

SEO Strategy & Content

SEO and Content StrategyPlanning – “Chasing keywords is a reactionary way to develop your search strategy – it needs to be proactive”

With keyword research a staple in the search diet, this is definitely a new way of thinking about how to plan search. Should we ditch our keyword tools? On the contrary search marketers need to be smarter at identifying trends to get ahead of the search curve and use tools to identify these trends.

Execution – “Getting good at execution is key”
Search experts can benefit from riding the topic wave. 2 hours after Michael Jacksons death Amazon had revamped their whole MP3 site whilst competitors didn’t get anything up until the end of the week. Whilst sites being indexed within hours of making a change is a luxury for some, the message here is clear – agility and quick execution in search can give you the edge over your competitors.

Delivery – Content really can disappoint
For years organisations have allowed search people to bastardise their site in pursuit of rankings but now search industry has to evolve. The bottom line is more time needs to go into the planning of content to really understand user behaviour and to deliver high quality engaging content. In this era content just for search will fail it will be those who build for the user first and the search engine second that will win.
The above are of course just my highlights from the event. If you want to read more on the outcomes of the event I have attached some of the best blog coverage on the seminars. Enjoy!

http://blog.arhg.net/2010/02/is-seo-dead-ses-london-takes-look.html
http://www.seo-chicks.com/1532/ses-london-panel-meaningful-seo-metrics.html
http://www.facebook.com/notes/search-engine-strategies-conference-expo/ses-london-2010-day-1-blog-coverage/316758288685
http://www.seo-chicks.com/1532/ses-london-panel-meaningful-seo-metrics.html
http://blog.freshegg.com/state-uk-search-industry-ses-london-2010-recap_2881

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Making It In The Digital World – Client Side

Digital Industry

Marketing teams are evolving, and whilst some organisations have been online for years, many are still in their infancy of embarking on an online strategy. As a result many marketing professionals are upgrading their knowledge from traditional marketing channels to cover digital areas such as search, social media and even onsite optimisation and usability.

But besides the multitude of technical knowledge required to be a talented client side digital marketer, what other skills and qualities do you need? Working client side for the past 4 years in digital, here are some of the key skills I think separate the online men from the boys – or the women from the girls for that matter.

Educator & Champion

In Australia, digital marketing is still an emerging area. Those up-skilling or who already have digital expertise, need to take on a wider role within their marketing department and across their organisation as an educator and champion of the discipline. Those who can successfully educate those surrounding them will find stakeholders are more bought into the strategy and concept of the online channel which provides the added support and investment needed to succeed online.

Educating and championing digital amongst peers and senior management however is not an easy task and requires persistence and a significant investment in time. But those that can effectively acquire and utilise this skill will find the road for implementing digital just that bit easier.


Networking

Online NetworkingWhilst developing strategic partnerships is not a new concept for some marketing professionals, digital marketing professionals will benefit from gaining thorough knowledge of how to build online relationships with bloggers, portals and other influencers in the community. Such relationships can spawn opportunities for cross promotion through online partnerships, co-creation of valuable content to deliver to users or third party endorsements such as those that can come from professional bloggers. Online networking used in this context in some ways can be the modern form of building relationships with the press, and if done right can therefore provide digital marketers with many new lucrative avenues to expand a digital strategy outside of the more obvious channels of search and email.

Resourcefulness & Entrepreneurial Spirit

Digital IndustryAs digital marketing is still a relatively new channel for many organisations, being resourceful and sometimes almost entrepreneurial is key. In many instances organisations will not heavily invest early on until a return is shown, thus digital marketers more so than other marketing professionals need to deliver results to secure a larger investment for the channel. Digital marketers must therefore consider where their marketing spend will net the largest return online to make sure that every dollar spent delivers a healthy CPA. Focusing on what you have got rather than what you haven’t is important as is looking for creative new ways to achieve objectives and leveraging the free and low cost tools available online.

Commitment

To be one of the best you truly have to love all things digital. The digital industry is a fast moving beast, one which holds enormous potential and is truly inspiring but one which you can lag behind in very quickly. The best client side digital marketers are those that not only have a commitment to continually deliver on business objectives, but ensure they are keeping up to date with the latest digital trends and new technologies. This knowledge is invaluable to drive new innovative strategies in the space and stay ahead of the curve.

Do you think there are any crucial skills or attributes client side marketers need to be the best in the digital industry? Add your comments 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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Where is The Innovation in The Online Travel Industry?

Content Marketing

The travel industry is often said to be ahead of the digital curve, and is one of the most lucrative online categories in Australia. So it is somewhat surprising to see that the travel industry is yet to truly innovate in the consumer engagement arena – particularly when it comes to site functionality.

Consumer InteractionWhilst I have held this belief for a while, it was interesting to see this validated in a recent article on eyefortravel.com which stated that the travel industry has some way to go in order to compete with ‘best in breed’ companies in the website engagement category. Whilst this was a European study I definitely believe this rings true for the Australian market.

The top tier players WebJet and Wotif and other market leaders such as Expedia have to date partly relied on an unsaturated landscape, strong acquisition strategies and consumer appetite to purchase travel online to drive online revenues. So whilst this approach is proving very successful in the current environment, increased competition could turn the industry in Australia on its head. Thus in a sector where the customer base is particularly promiscuous – switching brands for a better deal, a lack of innovation to engage consumers could be commercial suicide.

So where is the industry lacking?

Whilst the travel industry was quick to embrace collaboration tools such as UGC, many of the large players both locally and globally have failed to push the boundaries and differentiate in its use of this content.

Further to this, most sites are not providing the content and tools to support travellers beyond the booking process. Many sites do provide a lot of solid product content, however when it comes to content that supports preliminary decision making for travel – it never goes beyond basic destination information – thus where is the differentiation?

Content MarketingWeb 2.0 has enabled key industries to innovate in very engaging ways. Mydeco.com is just one example of how one player in the home renovations / furnishings industry has bought together a large range of products and combined it with inspiring ideas, 3D design tools and a plethora of community functionality. This provides DIY lovers with complete support throughout the renovation process and several reasons to revisit the mydeco site on an ongoing basis. Whilst the fashion industry has seen the rise of many social fashion sharing sites and community based applications. One such example is Kaboodle.com which enables shoppers to share and discuss the latest fashion along with finding the best prices online.

So what has this got to do with the travel industry right? Travel has one important ingredient that both the home renovations and fashion industry has – consumer passion. Consumers are passionate about discussing their travel experiences and planning their next getaway – but to date I am yet to see leading travel retailers and aggregators in Australia really tap into this and use it to improve brand engagement.

Thus I ultimately believe the travel industry must now push beyond reviews and ratings and differentiate their site through innovative content and tools to provide a truly engaging experience and develop deeper relationships with their consumers.

Those that do could prosper the most in the Australian market in the coming years.

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What Have The Search Juggernaughts Got In Store For Us?

Search Engine Marketing

As the battle of the search giants continues, R&D rolls on. Google and Microsoft have taken the war from search engines to our desktops, to our mobiles and into our marketing budgets with one prime objective – DOMINATION.

So whilst we all feel a bit violated by how far these brands are prepared to invade our privacy – as marketers we are all benefiting from a range of free tools and their innovation is also creating a wealth of new opportunities to connect and collaborate with our intended audience.

So what are some of the latest innovations and how will these change the marketing landscape?

Google Wave

Google WaveGoogle wave is in marketing speak a communications and collaborations tool but to simplify it, wave is email and instant messaging on steroids. Google Wave, which was produced by the same engineers as Google Maps, offers functionality like email playback, image sharing features, real time IM and a suite of other interesting functions. With a release date set for sometime in September, Google Wave may, if widely embraced, change the way email is as we know it.

How will this change the landscape?

Wave could transform the traditional email marketing campaign and this could be an exciting prospect for the email industry. Wave does have some very funky tools that will enable email to become more social thus it could mark the start of a new era in email tools. To preview the platform click here – note the video is 1 hour 20 minutes long but after 20 minutes you will get the jist.

Bing Vertical Search

With the introduction of its new search engine, Bing wants to do more than provide search results. As its positioning states, Bing is a decision engine, as it aims to help users to make decisions related to key problems. As a result Bing is investing heavily within its vertical search categories such as travel, shopping, medical and news (view Bing US to see what Microsoft is creating). Bing sees the future of search in aggregating content from various sources into one rich experience that is easy to navigate. Thus although Google is already doing it through universal search, the information is not structured logically to support a users decision process and this is where Bing could gain a significant advantage.

But with the Bing launch now old news, I am probably not telling you much more than you already know. So the question is where is this going? While this is largely speculative, it is believed that Microsoft will expand its vertical search by up to 12 separate channels. My guess is that Bing will build verticals across jobs/careers, education, property and finance at a minimum. So whilst Bing has its sights set on vertical search it seems Google has similar ideas. Google has already begun entering the vertical arena with Google Real Estate and also Google City Tour. And whilst at this stage it is difficult to tell how successful their vertical search strategies will be, I feel if Bing stays on route with aggregating content and steering clear of white labelling third party supplier products, they might have one up on industry leader.

How will this change the landscape?

Bing vertical search expansion to our shores will largely depend on the uptake of the Bing search engine as a whole. If the uptake is not there, we may not see the vertical search channels evolve locally, however I still expect to see Google rise to the challenge and focus even more heavily on this space. Thus with Bing now powering Yahoo, and plans for expansion into vertical search, along with Google’s progression in the area, vertical search engines – such as product comparison sites may decrease in popularity as search engines start to win back vertical search categories.

Want to know more about Bing? View this 2 minute overview

What else are these giants getting up to?

Google AnalyticsHere are some of the other tools that have recently been released or are in the pipeline;

Google Natural Search Ranking; Launched earlier in the year, but somewhat under the radar Google now provides the ability for Google Analytics users to not only view organic keywords which bought traffic to a site but to determine how those keywords ranked. As personal and local search has made ranking measurement tools less accurate, this provides SEOs with added intelligence to improve for their organic search strategies. For more information on Google Natural search rankings click here

Google Voice; Whilst in beta for a number of years, Google voice lets users manage their voice services online. With a single phone number, users can manage their voice services online – and the beauty of the tool is that the number is tied to the individual not a location like a home phone number or a device like a mobile. At this stage Google Voice is a free service, but is only available in the US. It is unclear when Google voice could make its way to our shores – but if it does one thing is for sure – Google need to find a way to monetise this product so no doubt there could be some interesting advertising models surfacing here.

Bing Tweets Results; Real time search has received a lot of attention over the past few months because of Twitters rise to fame. In early July Bing announced its first steps towards integrating real time tweet from prominent individuals into their search results. In addition Bing has announced that this is the first way they are dipping their toe into the water. Thus there is no doubt that this is one of the areas they will continue to innovate within in the coming months.

Have you come across any other key innovations by the search giants? If so add them below.

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Top 20 Most Interesting Australian Digital Statistics For 2009 So Far

Search Engine Marketing

Trying to locate Australian specific internet usage and user behaviour trends is often difficult. With a lot of new research circulating the web, Digital Marketing Lab has summarised the top 20 most interesting Australian Digital trends/stats which have been recorded in the first quarter of 2009. If you have any others that we have missed please feel free to add them.

Online Behaviour

1. Aussies spend a total of 16.1 hours per week on the internet – Nielsen Online
2. Australians now spend one-third of their leisure time online – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
3. Australian internet users are ditching desktop computers in favour of wireless technology with laptop ownership jumping from 49% to 63% by the end of 2008 – Nielsen Online.
4. Australians who shopped online in February 2009 spent an average of $760 compared to the global average of $3160. – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey

Search Marketing

Search Engine Marketing5. Top 3 search terms in Google at present are find a job, how to write a resume and how to survive the recession – AustralianIT
6. Google Australia search volumes have risen 20% from January 2008 to January 2009 – Search Engine Room
7. Google’s Marketshare reached 89.6% in February 2009 with Yahoo at 2% – Hitwise Australia
8. Australian search success is 71.1 per cent in February of 2009 from 70.1 per cent in February of 2008. Search success is measured by if a user goes to conduct another search straight after visiting the page from search results. – AustralianIT

Mobile Marketing

9. 97 per cent of Australians surveyed used their mobile phone for more than just voice. – m.Net Corporation
10. 31 per cent of Australian mobile users have used their mobile phone to make a purchase like movie tickets – m.Net Corporation
11. Mobile advertising growth is poised to treble in 2009 with Telsyte forecasting that mobile advertising spend will grow to $20 million this year – Digital Media

Social Media

Social Media Marketing12. 1 in 2 Aussies are now using a social network – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
13. On average Australians are registered with 2.7 social networks – .2 higher than the global average of memberships on social networking sites – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
14. Australian Twitter Subscribers Reached 250,000 in February 2009, up from 149,000 in January – Ninemsn
15. 7.5 million Australians visited consumer-generated media websites in January 2009, up 17 per cent on 2008. This compares to 8.3 million Australian visitors to the news/information mainstream media that month. – Nielsen Online
16. More than 5 million (1/4 of Aust popn) visited Facebook in January (up 100 per cent on 2008) & 2.4 million MySpace (-17 per cent) – Nielsen Online
17. Many Australians (83%) are aware of virtual worlds such as SecondLife., but only 26% have viewed or contributed to these sites – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey
18. 2.3 million Australians visited blogger blogs which is up 21% on 2008 – Nielsen Online
19. CGC has become a mainstream activity for Australian internet users with 57% admitting to publishing opinions online – Nielsen Online CGM Report
20. One in three (36%) Australians have friends or contacts that they met online with whom they regularly communicate demonstrating the impact of Web 2.0 on online relationships – The Digital World, Digital Life Survey

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4 Digital Weeks In Review – March

Stats, Stats & More Stats

Finally Australian statistics are becoming far easier to come by for marketers to make informed decisions. This month has been packed with stats for us to sink our teeth into.

Nielson Online conducted a survey of 2000 Australians, major findings are;
– Australians over the age of 16 spend 16.1 hours per week online, which is greater than TV, radio, newspaper & mobile phone consumption.
– Australian population has become more wired than even with ownership of desktop computers declining by 10% as consumers move towards wireless solutions such as laptops.

The Digital World, Digital Life survey conducted in 16 countries found;
In Australia one in two Australians use social networking sites
On average Australian’s are members of 2.7 different social networking sites which is above the world average of 2.5.
Awareness of web 2.0 is high, but interaction is still in its infancy compared to the rest of the world. Only 13% have contributed to blogs, 6% contributed to wiki’s and 26% viewed/contributed to virtual worlds.

Social Media AdvertisingNokia Australian “Comes With Music Announcement”

– On the 20th of March the Comes With Music Nokia 5800, is set to change the way consumers explore and enjoy music – according to Emile Baak, General Manager, Nokia Australia and New Zealand.

With internet usage growing rapidly in the mobile market, we are set for an interesting year as the big brands battle it out for market share. These trends will further accelerate the uptake of mobile internet as new features such as “direct music download services” and application centres that can be used on the go are introduced by handset manufacturers.

Google Behavioural Ad Targeting

Google has launched behavioural targeting on its YouTube and partner sites. The ads are part of what they call their “interest based advertising” enabling advertisers to target based on consumer interests. The site is currently being beta tested but advertisers are keen for this to be rolled out on a wider scale. From a consumer perspective, Google will be collating information through cookies but users do have the ability to opt out of the service.

So what does this mean for Digital Marketers; More access to low cost ad inventory reducing cost of entry for SMEs. In addition struggling platforms will be further squeezed to compete in the marketplace which is good news for client side marketers.

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Marketing in the Downturn – Part 1

Online Marketing

With Australia’s likelihood to ride out the global economic crises now looking bleak, the belts are tightening and marketers are starting to feel the pressure to deliver more results with fewer resources.

So just how can you get more from less? This is a 2 part series designed to provide online marketers and business owners with some food for thought to get more from less.

Part 1 features tips within the digital advertising and promotional space.

1. Changing The Advertising Model

Faced with a downturn, many organisations look to cut spending in areas that they see as “non essential”. One of the first areas to come under scrutiny is advertising. As however approximately 1/3 of companies cut their spending during a downturn, this is one of the best times to increase spending to win market share.

Stephen King, a pioneer in the area of online advertising found “businesses that cut their advertising expenditures in a recessionary period lose no less in terms of profitability than those who actually increase spending by an average of 10 per cent.” In other words, cutting advertising spend to increase short term profits doesn’t seem to work.

How can organisations leverage advertising in this climate to get more from less?

1) Negotiate Everything: Publishers will be feeling the pinch and will be looking to offload inventory. This is therefore the ideal time to be negotiating hard as rate card prices are slashed.
2) Pay For Response; Google is driving the demand from marketers to move to a pay per click/response model. If you need to ensure your spend is going to deliver results then seek out advertising solutions whose pricing is based on a response or options that guarantee some sort of return..

2. Anyone for Contra?

With businesses feeling the pinch, many companies will be looking for new opportunities to achieve their marketing and business objectives. Partnerships can open up new opportunities for promotion at a low cost. Identify firms that offer a service or goods that would complement yours and then approach the organisation to discuss promotional opportunities that can be exchanged – whether that be promoting the partner through your newsletter, a small ad on your site or any other opportunity you may be able to offer.

3. Web 2.0

Content MarketingThere are numerous free promotional channels on the internet which can be exploited – from social and professional networking sites, micro-blogging sites and business forums.

If your organisation is in the B2B sector consider how you can build your profile through the array of networking sites. Use LinkedIn’s Q&As section to build your/your business’ reputation in a given specialisation through answering questions. Or if you provide services to small businesses, there are an array of Australian forums dedicated to this segment – why not write an informative piece and post it on the relevant sites.

If you are in the B2C market, consider if your brand could benefit from providing regular updates via twitter. Sectors which are experiencing a strong following include;
• Publishing sites like SkyNews, News.com.au & TechWired all with nearly 400 followers,
• Not for profit sector like WWF (over 800 followers) & Amnesty International
• Travel and leisure segment like Tourism Queensland (734 followers) and STA Travel (177 followers)
• Education sector seem to be having some early success with RMIT having over 300 followers.

Alternatively you may feel that a blog can provide useful content to engage your prospects & existing consumers and also assist your SEO efforts. Best of all you can download free blogging software from both www.blogger.com & www.wordpress.org

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