Posts Tagged ‘Advertising/Marketing’

PR Takes the Lead: A Cautionary Tale

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Gail Nelson
Last week’s Ad Age article, “How PR Chiefs Have Shifted Toward Center of Marketing Departments was the talk of the public relations Twitterati. But in one instance where PR was given responsibility for overall marketing of a Fortune 500 firm, it’s not turning out so well.

This Sunday, as my friend and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Ana Beall’s in Westfield, NJ (yum!) we dissected the sad case of leading with the creative idea.

In this large company, marketing reports to the chief communications officer (CCO), A strong PR campaign featuring researched-based creative can attract new customers during the recession.  whose background is in public affairs. Wanting to attract new customers during this recession, the CCO agreed that new advertising was in order.  Here’s the FAIL, though: Being fond of a popular song, it appears he asked the advertising agency to design an ad using that song without conducting any research. As a result, neither the song nor the visuals have much to do with the brand or the firm’s customers. Here’s an unfortunate postscript: Ad placement for a very strong campaign featuring research-based creative was de-funded a year earlier.

Neither my friend nor I are privy to the inner workings of this company. But given the circumstances, it was wasn’t a shock to learn  that this executive will not be in charge of marketing and advertising much longer: The hunt is on for a strong CMO.

Now, I am not saying that a creative PR idea can’t launch a company’s fortunes. This weekend, I read the story of Twitter’s founding as told by author @shelisreal in his new book, Twitterville. Twitter invested its meager resources in a smart campaign at the 2007 South by Southwest (SXSW) conference; Its clever tradeshow strategy knocked a competing micro-blogging service out of the market, tripled the roster of  users, and secured Twitter’s future.   

But back to our Fortune 500 company: Will this company ever again trust a public relations practitioner with strategic oversight of marketing? Does this gaffe make the case for a broader strategic curriculum in PR education and/or wider professional certification? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

Are You Still Using Multipliers?

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

flickr_graphmeeting_2136954043_5145b15312.jpgDuring a recent PRSA webinar sponsored by BurrellesLuce I referenced the Institute for Public Relations (IPR) white paper, “Dispelling the Myth of PR Multipliers and Other Inflationary Audience Measures” by: Mark Weiner and Don Bartholomew. This prompted many follow-up questions, mostly about the “greater” credibility of editorial content vs. advertising. As noted in the white paper there are flaws in that thinking and there is no substantiated data proving this notion.

The white paper is excellent and should be read by everyone currently using multipliers in their measurement rationale and those thinking about its implications.

Here I want to provide my very “Reader’s Digest” summary for our peers who may need to recalibrate existing benchmarks if they lose a multiplier. In the real world of business, a “multiplier” of publisher supported data is an “Enron Metric.” The more you have to explain something, the more you compromise the credibility. Think about it this way: Your company has a certain number of clients. That’s the number. Would it be acceptable for the customer service department to report a higher number because they have a lot of “happy clients” or “clients who are referring business”? No. Then why would you want to put forward a number that can’t stand on its own merit?

The power of social media is thriving and growing by word-of-mouth and the influence of peers. The reason: credibility. Don’t compromise your greatest asset by taking a short cut or using numbers that aren’t straight forward and/or supported by a third-party data source.

Social Media – Is There a Payday?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Gail Nelson
Surprisingly (at least to me) this debate is going strong in some very influential places. Chris Brogan, for one, may harbor some doubts, at least as it pertains to selling Ford Fiestas. His post, “The Real Meat of the Question” was spurred by the post, “Can Social Media Make Us Buy More Cars?,” in which Pete Cashmore discusses Ford’s experiment: the automaker has given 100 active web citizens free use of a Ford Fiesta for six months. The participants agree to post about their experience to Twitter and Facebook and Flickr and YouTube. It’s clearly a blatant grab for buzz (and it’s working – look at all these blog posts!), but will this new campaign generate new sales?  

In the meantime, Chris asks his readers to weigh in on the ability of social media to drive sales. I jumped to comment last night, and put a firm stake in the ground, saying that social media participation (in Twitter and LinkedIn, in particular) by BurrellesLuce folks has resulted in sales. Is it a “paid” program, like Ford’s? No. (We blog and tweet as individuals and participate in the conversions at large.) Has our participation in the PR community resulted in a boatload of sales? Not yet, but it’s growing. Is the cost per sale reasonable? It’s hard to say. We haven’t tracked and valued the time of all who monitor, participate and respond to prospects and customers on social networks. But we do know it’s been an effective final touch point in a number of cases.  And we are pleased to be able to put personal faces on the brand we’ve spent years to build.

So, what do you think? Will a “paid” social media buzz creation campaign sell cars, or would only a more organic effort move the needle? And If you decided to ramp up your participation in social media  – whether or not you “seed” the conversation the way Ford is – would you have the systems in place – both monitoring and measurement – to be able to answer the question, “Does social media have a payday?”


Trials and Tribulations in Twitterville

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Gail Nelson
Trials and Tribulations in TwittervilleRemember reading blogs using an RSS reader? I do. That was my everyday practice before I shifted more of my social media consumption to Twitter. This past weekend, I cozied up to my Google Reader for a good long time, and explored a surprisingly deep Twitter backlash. Who knew?

Check out this short animation from SuperNews called “Twouble with Twitters.” (I found it on the Murphy’s Law blog).  The plot: a twenty-something guy tries to persuade his twenty-something co-worker to join Twitter. It doesn’t end well. While the first twenty-something implores the second to “twitterstand,” the unconvinced co-colleague asserts that Twitter is about “randomly bragging about your unexceptional life.” (Funny, and partially true.)

Brian Solis has announced Friendfilter, a Twitter plug-in. You may use it to preview the profile and usage statistics of potential followers and determine if they are worth your time. It’s a form of white-listing – although receiving excessive tweets is self-inflicted form of spam, the downside of cultivating a large following. The way I see it, Friendfilter could also help power Twitter users (@gail_nelson is not one) to avoid hanging out with the less popular kids.

In a theme he’s been building over a few posts, Robert Scoble (the Scobelizer) compares the nature of Twitter (public) with Facebook (private), and tries to figure out how each of these free services will structure advertising fees. The personal details users are willing to share on Facebook signal purchase decisions that make advertisers salivate, Scoble asserts.  People don’t tweet with the same depth, making the Twitter audience less valuable.

Well, I’d better get this blog post off and uploaded so I can get back onto Twitter and tweet about it.

Convergence of Advertising and PR: Ads Targeting Both Online and Broadcast Mediums

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

by Jeffrey Barrett*
A recent announcement has Google on the path to implement targeted online advertising. This is advertising driven by your individual actions and user history with Google products. They have worked hard to stick to their “do no evil“motto by including opt out functionality in an attempt to appease those concerned with privacy. When I posted about this area of convergence in the online ad space, a commenter mentioned that it would not be cost effective to engage in CPM based direct messaging. This shift by Google may reinforce the CPC model that they use.

Convergence of Advertising and Public Relations

On the broadcast front, one-to-one advertising is beginning to get more consideration, especially in these tough economic times. Canoe Ventures is in part at the center of this and is working to create on-demand, heavily targeted ads for broadcast viewers. While the technology seems to be in place it faces legal and social pushback. Either some of the restrictions need to change, or companies like Canoe Ventures may be “encouraged” to take a hint from Google and present a “do no evil” exterior.

So, we have two companies and two industries working on the same goal; getting an exact message to one person based on what is “known” about that person. From what I understand PR also strives to deliver a targeted message to a person based on what is “known” about that person. Is this another step towards merging PR with advertising based on up-and-coming technologies? This would seem to be backed up by wording that implies a blending of PR and advertising in an article a friend of mine recently sent me an article from Adage regarding Walmart’s rethinking their PR strategy. Is Walmart edging towards a new model for PR? And if so, could direct influencing be a part of it?

My colleagues and I at BurrellesLuce, would love to hear your thoughts.

*Bio: Currently I am the chief architect of BurrellesLuce 2.0, the portal used by thousands of PR professionals to monitor, share, organize, and measure online and print news. I started as a web developer for Merck & Company and I am an accomplished technologist with a focus on large scale system architecture and implementation. With over ten years of experience designing and deploying technical solutions for a wide range of companies, I most recently managed web projects for NBC Universal, where I delivered social networking applications and supported high traffic applications. Prior to that, I served as director of technology for Silver Carrot, a marketing firm, creating and delivering the technology that powered high-performance online campaigns. In my spare time, I enjoy reading about economics and anything that has to do with modeling social interaction and social media. LinkedIn: Jeffrey Barrett; Twitter: @BurrellesLuce; Facebook: BurrellesLuce