(DMNews) By Ginger Conlon - Like the plate tectonics that reframe the earth’s topography, recent shifts in the marketing sphere are dramatic and permanent. According to Winterberry Group, U.S. ad spend grew 4.3% from 2011 to 2012; the bulk of that growth came in the form of digital ad spend (e.g., mobile, email, search), which increased 14.9% in 2012, while “measured media” spend (e.g., TV, outdoor, print, radio) grew only 1.5%. Winterberry expects 2013 growth to be similar, predicting a 19% increase in digital advertising, but only 0.4% growth for measured media.
This shift reflects in part marketers’ reactions to changes in customer behavior and preferences, as more consumers look to online and mobile as key brand touchpoints, desire a seamless experience regardless of channel, and expect real interaction with their preferred brands. These changes have also spurred an increasing interest among marketers in mastering omnichannel marketing and bolstering customer engagement.
Michael Mclaren, President, MRM
There are profound changes sweeping the marketing landscape. With rapidly evolving IT and data capabilities, companies are using advanced technologies to drive maximum value from existing customers and are scouring the marketplace to attract new customers and find new pockets of growth opportunities.
The convergence of IT technology in the service of marketing execution is a steady and pervasive trend.
Even with all this technological advancement, it’s clear that the key to success lies in customer relevance and engagement. The more we know about our customer—their habits, preferences, consumption of media, sources of information, key influencers, and more—the better we can create customized “offers” that are highly relevant and valuable to them.
In doing so we’re creating an experience that customers (and prospects) will value above all others. Developing this deep understanding of the customer—and having the capability to aggregate and structure this information so it can be effectively mined—is the key to modern, data-enabled marketing. We believe this superior customer experience management provides marketing organizations with a true source of competitive advantage.
By Marcy Q. Samet
EVP, Managing Director, MRM Princeton
As we begin 2013, one of the most important things pharmaceutical and medical marketers need to understand is that “digital” and “health” must live together.
Science is evolving at a rapid pace with a proliferation of health and wellness news appearing every day, as technology innovation shifts into hyper speed. The environment is ripe for digital health; it’s the way consumers are consuming their information. It’s time to acknowledge the patient truly comes first; patients are people—multidimensional people who want to know more about everything: tests, disease management, diets, lifestyle changes, side effects, and especially how other people are going through what they’re going through. People are curious and by engaging in substantive conversations with consumers, brands prosper and a truly communal health evolves.
by Fernando Tassinari, CEO of MRM Brazil
How will children born in the last five years consume information? Certainly not the way we are accustomed. Access to content and services is increasingly linked to many different screens, whether computer, phone, tablet or TV. Hence the name Generation S, which references touch screen, a technology that is already fully integrated into daily life, especially with teenagers today.
Each new generation knows and follows advances in technology and communication that completely change their way of life, routine and experiences. The way we will access content, share or even create is completely different from anything we’ve seen and live today.
These children and adolescents are born and are growing up during one of the most significant technological and digital revolutions of our existence. The emergence of screens where you just tap to enlarge, read, copy, correct, enter and pass content makes this experience completely different from anything we know. This is very strong.
According to the NPD Group, 27% of all TVs sold in the first quarter of 2012 in the United States (almost 14 million) were Smart TVs with Internet access. Allied to this, the Gartner Group estimates that nearly 60 million tablets will be sold worldwide this year, doubling the total users. On smartphones, the Goldman Sachs forecasts that sales will reach almost 2 billion devices.
These young people are growing up in a society where screens are used for everything from entertainment to communication, education, shopping and transactions. This makes the world much smaller and more accessible, either in real time or on demand.
Those born in Generation S will never know a world without screens, without being connected, without gesture touches or controls, or without cameras to capture, interact, share and connect with others instantly. Who has been surprised to come across a child who navigates on smartphones or iPads better than us? It is a fact that they already use and interact with TVs in a way much easier than adults. The keyboard and mouse are weird elements to them, and soon will be the remote.
In this context, how can marketers, brands, retailers and publishers remain relevant to an audience that expects to transact with almost everything on a touchscreen? First, they need to be where the consumer is and ensure a relevant brand experience, regardless of how the content and information was discovered. This involves the creation and redesign of websites, to contemplate, and appropriately dynamic, different screens and operating systems.
Today, 45% of Fortune 500 companies have no applications or websites optimized for mobile devices, according to a recent study by the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau). Even considering that companies and brands have been creating apps and services for that specific device type, there is still inadequate action by target.
Or rather, available services do not yet cover Generation S (which is still young, and not yet formed as a consumer base). Generations Y, Z and older, that although enjoy the experience, are still more influenced by conventional media mediums such as TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and Internet.
This long journey has just begun, and soon everything must evolve. The time is now to think, learn, test, experiment and identify ways to measure properly and mainly we are all very attuned and connected to the technological evolution that daily knocks at our door.
Written By: Adam Dince
I’m honored to share that I’ve been asked to speak on the subject of “In-House Search Team and Outside Agency – How To Make It Work” at Conductor’s C3 Conference in NYC, September 19-20, 2012.
Below is a breif synopsis of the session:
In order to create a successful client/agency relationship, it’s important that the two work together as a team. Let me paint a brief picture. Imagine a football team on which everyone thinks they are the quarterback—what’s the likely outcome? Or what if no one wants to be the quarterback? What if the players have not been told which positions they’re playing and walk on to the field without a playbook? Pandamonium right? The same can happen with a client/agency relationship if it’s not been “optimized”.
Here are a few symptoms of an unoptimized client/agency relationship:
If you’re interested in learning more about how to make an in-house search team and outside agency relationship work, please join us at C3 for this interactive and exciting session.
by Colleen Hill
(MediaPost.com) – The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is difficult to describe to someone who’s never been before. Photos do not do justice to the feeling of wonder and amazement the festival invokes and written summaries of seminars cannot emulate the adrenaline kick of sharing a moment with thousands of people from all over the world.
The festival is as much an emotion as it is an event. The following is my attempt to describe how being in Cannes during the lions festival felt and how I hope to utilize these feelings in my approach to the industry as a whole.
by: Goran Minov, Emerging Media Manager, MRM Frankfurt
Last Friday Google launched the Analytics App for Android phones.
With the Android App, you can access all your accounts and profiles, which you have already created. The reports are mobile and have optimized a simple, very clear surface that can be put together as needed. There are three main features that are quite interesting, such as the analytical data in real time.
So you can look at the number of actual visitors to a page and a list of pages (web pages) or screen (for apps) that are currently popular and most will be called. This can be done to put together his dashboard for each profile with the most relevant statistics reports.
Particularly interesting are the automatic and custom alerts. Google Analytics detects statistical anomalies in the data and sends an alert if something unusual happens. You can set the alerts based on their own benchmarks and be ready at all times for the unexpected.
As you can read in the play-Store reviews, there is still room for improvement. So you cannot view all the statistics on the dashboard (eg, traffic sources, most viewed pages) and does not include the integration of AdSense. All in all, the app is good and it feels very good, in other words: it is very user friendly.
About the Author: Goran Minov founded his first design studio in the Frankfurt area in 1997 with a partner. In over 7 years of independence, he got to know programming languages and databases, and expanded its expertise in the online space. As online project manager he was responsible for over two years with known clients in the financial and transportation industries. Then he focused more on the creative part as a senior concept designer in one of the leading owner-managed agencies in Frankfurt. As an interface between creation, strategy and customer service since 2010 he is now now emerging media manager at MRM Frankfurt, where he has the ear on the rail, watching for trends and innovations on the lookout.
Written By: Benjamin Weisman
SVP, Director of Creative Innovations
From healthcare coverage and insurance products to medical devices and treatment options, the medical industry encompasses a diverse and often complicated set of services and products. Specifically with medical treatments, patients and caregivers often look to other like-minded communities to learn more about their options in order to be well-informed. The rise of the socially-educated patient is here.
In addition to the wide-range of restrictions and requirements that pharmaceutical brands must adhere to when communicating with health care professionals (HCPs), patients and consumers, they may also consider and leverage the real-life patients that post on social networks, forums and blogs with their personal stories. Because patients are always listening and participating, pharmaceutical brands need to find relevant ways to deliver their message in an authentic social voice in order to better articulate their messages and truly participate in the conversation while delivering fair-balance.
This is a part of the new reality of what MRM sees as CRM 3.0, the place between branded messages and User influence and how brands can be impacted by the larger digital community of patients. There is always risk when blazing a trail, but being prepared and focusing your initiative helps brands avoid existing pitfalls. Be as informed as you can and surround yourself and your brand with people who keep abreast of regional, state and federal healthcare laws, FDA guidance, medical trends, and User trends.
Here are seven steps that MRM practices with its Pharmaceutical and Healthcare brands when developing and/or strengthening their social presence.
Step 1: Document the current landscape:
Since the landscape is changing every three to six months, legal teams and internal medical editors need to constantly refresh their understanding of “what social means” for their products. It is imperative to engage product specialists and social media category specialists within your internal or agency team.
Step 2: Ask the question:
Is my brand team up to the challenge of taking the leap into the social landscape? What industry laws, regulations, policies or other restrictions do we need to observe? Who is our audience? What for what does our brand stand?
Step 3: Decide where your growth is, and what the brand can own:
Should your brand focus on disease state education or building brand affinity? Should your social-brand goal be specific to the brand or is it more about the parent organization? Decide if you want to project messages that are branded or unbranded.
Step 4: Restrictions must be embraced:
Branded messages will take into account, at a minimum, the ISI, (Important Safety Information) and other claim based parameters.
Step 5: Content calendars are essential:
Create a strategic content calendar that includes meaningful content around brand attributes and educational content for patients and/or care givers. Content may include cues for patients to talk to their doctors about treatment options, and information to help them better understand their disease states.
Step 6: Media spend can enable permissions:
Social media’s full potential is unlocked when media buying is paired together with earned media. Dedicating real funds to buying access to services social networks have is key. And in turn, dedicating funds to a community manager with content and strategic chops can enable valuable communications to unfold.
Step 7: What does social mean for your products:
Define a clear sense of the areas of the social landscape that align themselves with your product and brand. For some, closed networks may be right, and for others open networks and gaming may be what social means for them.
Social Networks are beginning to further recognize the need for specific industries, like Pharmaceuticals, their products and legal requirements. There is risk with every execution, but there is also tremendous benefit. As further iterations shine the possibilities and the areas into which they may have permission to trail blaze into, the end Users/patients and brands, will really benefit from Pharma-Friendly Social.
Because patients want to be educated about their medical treatment options, they should be able to use social channels to connect and unlock information. Using definite brand voices, pharmaceutical companies can authentically build relationships through custom social executions, such as game play or distribution of information about disease state. Some patients will be driven towards product affinity slowly, so give them the chance to make a deeper connection with the brand. Though it may cost some time and money to play in the social space, it is a low cost of entry compared to traditional activities.
Benjamin J. Weisman, SVP, Director of Creative Innovations
With keen proficiency, Ben works to help migrate users/consumers to new and pre-commoditized digital and social media landscapes. Ben has found new creative ways to define experiences using emerging platforms and methods for numerous clients. Ben is also Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Social Media Society.
by: Adam Donnelley (ClickZ.com)
Every day millions of commodities are traded on financial markets. Trades take place across different geographies and by people with different perceptions of value, which ultimately leads to differences, albeit subtle, in price.
Arbitrage refers to the act of taking advantage of these pricing imbalances – referred to as a “spread” – through a series of matching trades that exploit these opportunities to generate a profit.
I have always been drawn to the concept of arbitrage as a metaphor for rapid ideation and innovation in business. The analogy stems from working in Sydney, Australia early in my career. I remember watching the U.S. ad industry from afar. I could not understand why local Australian brands weren’t leveraging new and emerging marketing techniques and applying them to profit their businesses.
It wasn’t hard to reverse engineer or see how these concepts could apply to their businesses. It wasn’t a question of capabilities; it simply boiled down to most companies choosing not to take the risk. The “marketplace” for adopting new ideas was glacial.
Financial markets, by contrast, moved in real time, seizing on and profiting from opportunities. Even when the differences were in fractions of cents, traders saw the opportunity to scale these small imbalances and create a profit. Why couldn’t marketers adopt a similar mindset?
Fast-forward 15 years: I find myself living and working in the U.S. The “innovation” buzzword is hotter than ever. A lot is hot air, but even that heat is slowly helping to thaw companies from their glacial habits. Companies are finally realizing that they must innovate faster if they want to avoid being the next “Kodak moment” dinosaur.
The technology behind financial trading has also significantly advanced. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the emerging area of high-frequency trading involving state-of-the-art hardware, enabling trades measured in milliseconds – faster than humans can react.
Controversy aside, speed has evolved as a critical tool for high-frequency traders to make markets and manage risk. The connection between risk management and speed is one that is strangely analogous to marketing.
In the financial sense, high-frequency trades help companies reduce their exposure time (the time it takes for quotes to be placed and processed on an exchange), in effect reducing the downside.
Speed in marketing, as in finance, has also become a means of reducing “exposure risk.” Want proof? Just consider the real-time engagement required in social media: customer demand for instant information via mobile devices, the application of real-time analytics in e-commerce to optimize shopping behavior, or the challenges faced by manufacturers to innovate faster as product lifecycles continuously shorten.
Yet acting quickly is contrary to decades of conservative brand-management practices. It is natural that there is some inertia – but it doesn’t negate the fact that marketing, like trading, is increasingly about taking a position in the market.
The evidence is everywhere, and what is becoming abundantly clear is we are witnessing a shift to real-time innovation.
So in the spirit of turning up the heat, here are five simple principles to help you innovate faster:
The recent Facebook IPO lodgment gives a good example of this shift to real-time innovation and insight into Facebook’s culture.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, describes in “The Hacker Way,” the IPO’s letter to investors, Facebook’s culture of “building something quickly or testing the boundaries of what can be done.” There is no doubt this philosophy is heavily influenced by the developer roots of Facebook and its credo that “code wins arguments,” but many progressive companies outside the tech space are adopting the practice of more rapid innovation and iteration.
Call it hacking, agile development, whatever; it amounts to the fact that doing is better than debating. Smart marketers shifting more money toward digital are waking up to this opportunity. Their brands and businesses will be the beneficiaries.
The Ice Age of ideation is over, and real-time innovation has just begun.
by: Kate Clough (ClickZ.asia)
Koreans are among the most active searchers in the world and the amount of search conducted in Korea on our clients’ keywords is high, relative to other countries, as we would expect. So, why do our clients get relatively few site visits from their paid search efforts in a highly connected market, where they are popular? The unique way that Korean search engines source and display content significantly impacts searchers’ subsequent actions. After the submission of the initial query, Korean searchers’ intentions are likely to change, splintering across a variety of related topics and pulling them down an infinite number of paths. Therefore, Korea requires a unique approach to marketing. Rather than jump straight to marketing implications though (wait for Part 2!), let’s explore what this means for consumers; you know, what we are when we’re not at work.
Following a query submission, Naver, Korea’s dominant search engine at 70 percent+ market share, serves up bite-sized information in a wide variety of dynamic formats, including conversation bits, blog snippets, photos, videos, book covers, academic and business papers, maps, product listings and more, all splashed out across a long page of results…so long that I can’t insert a screenshot, so please, try it yourself. A search on “Ralph Lauren” this morning produced a predictable 10 organic and 1 paid listing on Google.com and Google.com.hk and did not include any non-text listings; not even a map, showing the many Ralph Lauren stores near me. The same search on Naver delivered 75 results complete with runway shots displaying the latest collection and a short bio of the man himself!
This may sound like information overload, but the information is extremely well organized, by format. The sections are neatly labeled, ordered and displayed in equal-size slots on the page, so that a daily user knows how to scroll directly to the information sought. Sometimes that information is pulled right into the page; the ultimate convenience! However, with so many interesting options available, she might allow related content to distract and entice her, resulting in abandonment of her original mission entirely.
While Naver serves up an incredible buffet of high quality, relevant content from which to choose, it gives significant priority to social content, which appears in the top sections of organic results. A searcher can easily dive into a conversation about the brand she is researching, read a review by a blogger who’s considered a subject expert, flip through pictures posted by brand-lovers or view product demos. There are so many opportunities to engage with a brand (including within the search results page itself) that the likelihood of visiting an official brand site, directly after conducting the search, is bound to decrease.
Some might say that this experience is not unique; that one can get format-specific recommendations from Google by using “maps” or “video” or “image” search. However, the searcher would have to make the decision to focus on that particular format, rather than be introduced to the full variety. No one would take the time to conduct multiple, format-specific searches in order to add dimension to the search experience. Some might say that “universal search” is delivering pages like I’ve described, but not even close. The real estate on a Google page is limited, which has its benefits, but within the few organic results, there’s very little space devoted to non-text formats. Naver serves up significant content per format (average 5 listings) across a wider variety of formats, assuming availability and relevance.
Naver does more than get people to the information they seek, it broadens their view of a topic and encourages exploration in a way that other engines do not. It reminds me of the old Encyclopedia Britannica (no longer printing!), which aimed to give readers well-rounded knowledge of a particular topic, though due to the physical limitation of the format (paper), the information was somewhat superficial. Naver serves up information and entertainment within the search results page, along with the functionality to deep-dive on any related topic to learn more. Again, to some, more options may sound burdensome. To me and to millions of Koreans who have tried it, it rocks!
You may debate whether or not Naver rocks, from a usage point of view. It’s possible my enthusiasm would diminish with daily use (vs. occasional use, facilitated by Google Translate). One thing about Naver is indisputable: It is (by far) the dominant search engine in Korea, and also a massive portal, which engages millions of Korean consumers every day. It may well be the golden key that unlocks marketers’ potential in Korea…if you know how to use it. That will be the subject of next month’s article: “Naver Rocks…if you’re an in-the-know marketer!”
One thing search engine marketers know for sure is that search engine algorithms, processes and features will continue to evolve as the needs and expectations of its users do. Over time, search engines have optimized their own performance – they have become smarter, faster, more robust, and continue to offer new options for users searching for information. Given the dynamic nature of search engines, how successful we are in our search marketing strategies and sustaining client relationships is largely dependent on how we approach our craft.
The Reactive Approach (Avoid as much as possible.)
Often times search marketers approach an organic search strategy like we would a human maze at the state fair. We enter through the starting gate and follow a path until we run into a dead end. Once we hit a dead end—we stand still for a minute—scratch our heads and attempt to figure out a different path to help us successfully exit. While this reactive approach can work—it’s clunky, it doesn’t always sit right with clients, and it’s not indicative of subject matter expertise.
Our clients (internally and externally), who invest significant time and resources into developing an organic search strategy, expect us to not only follow search engine best practices, but to be ahead of them.
The Proactive Approach (Pick me, pick me!)
While it’s impossible to always be ahead of every search engine change, we can position ourselves in such a way that mitigates their impact to our strategy and clients. Let’s return to the human maze analogy. What if, upon entrance to the maze, we received a map that showed us the way forward? What if search engines gave us a map to help us navigate their maze? Believe it or not, they have.
When I switched careers from Web designer to search engine marketer, I knew nothing about organic search. I thought I did, but in reality I had no clue. To get my feet wet, I read through Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. All these years later, while so much has changed, two of Google’s most important quality guidelines have stayed the same:
1. Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines
2. Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings
I have found that, for the most part, Google only makes changes when it believes change can improve the customer experience. While some may argue how successful Google has been in some of its “improvement” hypotheses, I believe Google’s intent has remained consistent. If search marketers take to heart the notion of building for users and not for search engines, we’ve then essentially adapted a proactive mindset.
What This Means:
In a blog post by Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz, “How Google’s Panda Update Changed SEO Best Practices Forever – Whiteboard Friday,” Rand shares his thoughts on the term SEO becoming obsolete because SEO has evolved into so much more than just traditional organic search. And in order to be successful in search results, we have to adapt the mindset of a web strategist or inbound/performance marketer. This means that we have to evolve past the mental paradigm of SEO and broaden our skill set to include a meaningful understanding of:
• User Experience Design
• Information Architecture
• Creative Concepts
• Creative Copywriting
• A/B and Multivariate Testing
• Accessibility Guidelines
• Web Analytics
• Social Media Integration
• Consumer Linguistics
The bottom line is that Google generates revenue when its search results are high quality and useful to its users. That doesn’t mean just the search result on the search results page is quality and useful, but the entire customer journey is successful as well. If you are building your Web experiences and digital assets with overall quality and utility in mind, then you are already on the right path.
Original blog post on www.conductor.com.