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Kamis, 18 Mei 2006

Be Single Minded



Be Single Minded

You’ve read about the importance of being courageous, rebellious and imaginative. These are all vital ingredients in an effective advertising campaign. However, they must be tempered with the most important ingredient of all—strategy. 


As long as the advertising industry has been in existence there has been debate about whether advertising is art or commerce. Quite frankly, this kind of divisive argument is a waste of time and has only helped to diminish what little respect the industry has earned through the years. Besides, the answer is simple. Advertising is the art of commerce. 


It can’t be pure art because pure art won’t engage the consumer on behalf of the brand. Art can certainly get people’s attention, but it rarely causes them to take action. If the consumer is not actively engaged, the brand won’t grow. If the brand doesn’t grow, the company won’t profit. And if the company ceases to make a profit, it dies and takes its brand with it.


On the other hand, advertising can’t be mere commerce because capitalism, in and of itself, is not pretty. It doesn’t make people sit up and take notice. Pure commerce deals with the exchange of money for goods and services. How boring is that. Besides, you don’t want to encourage simple commerce. You want to promote branded commerce. That is what makes strategy so important. 


Let’s be clear. We’re talking advertising strategy. Advertising is not marketing. Marketing involves several disciplines including product, pricing, packaging, distribution, customers and promotions (which encompasses public relations, advertising, point-of-sale, direct marketing, e-marketing, etc.).


If your ad agency can’t tell the difference between marketing and advertising strategy, run like hell. You’re liable to waste a lot of money. Now some agencies do understand the balance between the broader marketing picture and the narrow, targeted advertising scope. If they are capable and comfortable operating in both realms, they will be a very valuable partner to you.


The importance of a strong ad strategy can’t be stressed enough. Creating ads without strategy is like throwing a ping pong ball at a speeding car in a wind storm. There is little chance you will hit your target. 


With a sound advertising strategy, however, even a company with a limited budget can compete against deep-pocketed competitors. Such is the power of the single idea that remains constant over time. This, my friend, is the essence of long-term branding.  


You must start by knowing to whom you are speaking and to whom you should be speaking. What are their hot buttons? What kinds of things are they paying attention to (art)? What would make them want your product or service (commerce)? What kind of life do they lead? What are some of their daily hassles? Can your product or service help with any? 


The key, of course, is to begin thinking about your customers and potential customers. Focus on their needs instead of your own. By offering solutions to their needs, you will fulfill your own profit needs. It doesn’t work the other way around. Trust me.


Only after you know your audience, should you start thinking about how to communicate with them. Because only then will you know how and where to reach them.• 


This article introduced the fourth of twelve steps. Challenge yourself, your staff and your advertising agency to revolutionize your ad program. If you missed a previous step, contact the author for a complimentary copy. And, remember, every revolution begins with just one step.

Selasa, 18 April 2006

Be Rebellious



Be Rebellious

In order to get consumers (whether they are retail or service customers or business-to-business audiences) to notice an advertising message, many companies resort to loudness and one-upmanship. Neither of these tactics works in the long run. 


If your competition is talking loudly and you decide to yell louder, what do you think they will do? Yep. They’ll start to scream. Nobody wins a shouting match when it comes to advertising. And usually you’ll find you even lose a few customers in the process because they can’t stand the noise. 


It’s the same with one-upmanship. If you have to compete on more and better coupons or more and better discounts, giveaways or incentives unrelated to your core product, your revenue per sale decreases as well as your number of sales. 


Customers see these types of games as gimmicky, fake and disingenuous; and they leave. The ones who do stay now view you and your competitors as commodities with no difference except your price. That is a dangerous place for a company to find itself.


The answer to clutter is not more clutter; it’s finding who wants to hear you and speaking to them. So how do you compete if you can’t out shout or out discount your competition? You get rebellious and radical with your advertising. 


Do those words scare you? That’s okay. Remember, you’re being courageous now. You can handle it. Besides, rebellious and radical aren’t dirty words. They will help you draw attention away from your competition without resorting to screaming and insulting your customers. 


It’s not about being outrageous just to get attention; it’s about being remarkable. An advertising campaign with a strong rebellious strategy is, by its very nature, different from anything your audience will find from your competitors’ marketing efforts. It’s unexpected. It’s surprising. It’s effective. 


There are two keys to creating a successfully rebellious advertising campaign. The first is the big idea. This idea comes from a strategy that is derived directly from your customers and their relationship with your brand. You arrive at this idea through a discipline called account planning. We’ll get into the details of both the big idea and account planning in later articles.


The second key to a successfully rebellious advertising campaign is attention. You can’t gain attention if you don’t learn to identify and then steer clear of the norm. It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is or how large your potential market, if your target audience doesn’t pay attention to your message, your ad budget has been wasted. 


Think about these two keys while you flip through the newspaper or a magazine. Ponder them while you watch TV. You should notice something almost immediately. Most ads today don’t seem to be based on any big idea. Many are so boring that you flip right past them without noticing them. Others get your attention but the ads don’t have much to do with the product so you quickly forget the brand the ad was supposed to sell you. What an opportunity for your brand!


Now, there is a caveat to being rebellious. Your ads should never be different just for difference sake. The difference should be derived from your brand’s uniqueness.• 


This article introduced the second of twelve steps. Challenge yourself, your staff and your ad agency to revolutionize your advertising program. If you missed the first step, contact the author for a complimentary copy. And, remember, every revolution begins with just one step.

Sabtu, 18 Maret 2006

Banner Advertising: How Does It Work?



Banner Advertising:  How Does It Work?

So you are an internet marketer and you want to make money right? Or maybe you are just somebody with a product or service to sell that is looking for innovative ways to get your stuff in front of more customers eyes and increasing the size of your market share. Either way you have come to the right place to read about an excellent form of advertising called banner advertising that takes advantage of the wave of the future—the internet. The internet allows your market to instantly be any where in the world that there is a computer and that you can then ship your product or provide your service. Now some of the more traditional type services like doctors, plumbers, etc. will be limited by the geography naturally but this is still a great way to advertise in your area as more and more people are getting on the internet daily.


What is banner advertising you say? Well it is an ad that is placed on a website that is not related to the ad but preferably is one that lots of people will hit. It is an ad that usually is in some sort of image file and often contains typical words and pictures as well as animation and sound which are becoming popular “hooking” techniques. The ad is usually short and wide or tall and narrow and this is why it is referred to as a banner. When a customer wants to see more they simply click on the banner and are taken via an embedded link to another page which is typically the sales page. If the product is something that you can purchase online or download it is done through this page. Otherwise it is just more exposure for the advertiser.


Another good question is why would the host website allow the ad to be on their page? Well just like any form of advertising the advertiser pays for time or in this case space. Most often with banner advertising the deal is worked out according to how many clickthroughs happen in a given amount of time. Usually the cost is five to ten cents per click.


How would I get my advertisement on a page? Well again just like other forms of advertising there are many ways to do it. You could personally contact the owner or operator of the site and work out a deal, or you could hire and advertising firm that does all of that work for you. Most often it is this second form that is used and these advertising companies will place the ad on multiple different sites and collect the fees, and paying the site’s owner or operator.



Adwords Keyword Research for Beginners



Adwords Keyword Research for Beginners

When you embark on your first PPC journey, you need to keep a small number of keywords at first. Keyword lists that are thousands of words long should be left to the more experienced PPC marketer. Ideally, a beginner should use around 100 targeted keywords, anything more will probably prove too cumbersome for you to manipulate. If you can't harness the power of large keyword campaigns, they will suck your bank accounts dry.  There are some very simple free techniques that you can use to find targeted keys words with low competition. One process of finding low competition niche keywords utilizes Google and excel. More specifically you want to use Google's keyword tool, just type this into Google, and it will appear in the search results.


   Upon landing on the main Google keyword tool page, you will find a white box(field) where you want to enter your particular keyword(s). Enter one keyword for now to get an idea of how this works, and press enter. After pressing  enter, you will be directed to a page of keywords that will be closely related to the keyword that you entered. For the purposes of what we want to do, you will need to scroll to the middle of the page where the text Add all 150 is highlighted in blue bold text. Below these words you will see the words download all keywords with text,.csv(for excel) and .csv. You want to click on .csv(for excel). By doing this, you will  export this data into an excel spreadsheet. The data, which only appears as green bars on the main Google page, will be transformed into numeric data that has much more value for you. 


   Once the data is in the excel spread sheet, you can begin some simple analysis on it that will benefit your PPC campaign a great deal. In the excel spreadsheet, there are going to be columns of data, A-D. The columns are going to be, from A-D, Keywords, Advertiser competition, the previous month's search volume, and the average search volume.The two columns we are interested in are the advertiser competition and the Average search volume. What we want to do is merge the data from these two columns to give us a number that we can work with. So what we need to do is take a generalized average of these two to get a number which we will compare to a predetermined benchmark. Sounds a little odd, let me explain a bit more completely, and hopefully you will understand. All of these numbers are in decimals on a scale ranging from .00 to 1. The higher the number, the more competition there is(as expressed by the advertiser competition numbers) and the higher the search volume(as expressed by the average search volume). Ideally, we want low competition with a decent search volume to target lower cost high converting keywords. So, to find these keywords we use a general benchmark number that will determine their competition and volume level. If the keywords exceed the benchmark, we leave them be, if they hit right around the benchmark, or fall below it, we want to capture them and include them in our PPC campaign. 


   To get our figures, which we are going to compare to a predetermined benchmark, we are going to take an average of the advertiser competition column and the average search volume column. We want to do this for all the keywords that have been exported to the excel file. And the way we do this is by typing in a simple command in excel and copying the command down throughout the related boxes. So to start, we find box E2 which should be blank, this is the first box to the right of the first value in the avg. search volume box. So, within this blank box you want to type=average(D2,B2). This will automatically give you an average of those two numbers in this E column row when you close that last ).Now, to get all the averages for every keyword you simply want to click on that box(E2) and pull down on the box while you hold in right click. The boxes should fill in with color when you drag down to the last box(nothing will be in them yet). Then, when you have filled in the boxes with color up to the last box you want to lift your finger off the right click. When you do this all the averages will appear in the boxes. You basically just copied the function down through the boxes. So now we have all these averages. What do we do with them, what do they tell us?


   Well, a good benchmark average is around .50. This will give us a reasonable competition level with good search volume. So we compare these averages to anything that falls around .50 and below. Anything that goes above .60 we want to avoid to start out with, because it will probably be too expensive to bid on. So now compare all the averages in column E to the predetermined benchmark of .50. Whatever falls below .50 or, .55(to possibly get some more data) we want to keep. Take all the keywords that meet this criteria and copy them into a notepad .txt file. (There are faster ways to do this but they take some learning of excel functions that you may not know yet.)


   So now we want to take these keywords that fell below or right around the benchmark and plug these back into the Google keyword tool and hit enter. Now go back through the entire process that we just did to get the keywords we just plugged into the Google keyword tool. You are going to want to take the average again of the two columns mentioned above, then get all the averages of all the keywords by draggin the first box down, and then compare again to a benchmark of .50 or .55. But now, because we found some more targeted keywords to work with(as a result of the first exporting of data to excel, and taking the averages to compare against the benchmark) we should have more keywords that hit right around the benchmark and below it. This is because we are working with more targeted and hopefully lower competition keywords. We are finding yet more targeted keywords related to the first set we found. This should produce a larger list of keywords that meet our benchmark. So now we can take the words that meet the benchmark here, and we can use these in our targeted PPC campaign. You will want to sort through this list of course, and make sure the keywords are well suited for the particular items that you are selling. This method will get you headed in the right direction for your PPC campaign.



Sabtu, 18 Februari 2006

Be Courageous



Be Courageous

For such a simple statement, this is one of the hardest things for people to do. It goes back to that damn survival instinct each of us is born with. If an animal draws attention to itself in the wild, it might soon find itself the main course of a larger animal’s next meal. That fear of being chewed up and spit out has survived all our millions of years of evolution and is alive and well in today’s business environment.


Fight or flight is another instinct many of us haven’t yet learned to manipulate. It’s easier to run away from a new idea than it is to stay and fight for it. With today’s leadership-by-committee mentality and intense public scrutiny, the easiest solution is unfortunately the most popular. Companies today often miss the forest through the trees. They tend to concentrate so much on short-term profit that they fail to make investments or take advantages of opportunities that promise long-term profit simply because they require a short-term loss. 


It may also be argued that fighting for a new idea—whether that means pushing for the development of a new product, staving off competitors or supporting a slumping brand rather than letting it die—is usually undesirable because of such costs. 


Certainly that might be true in the short term, but in the long run, giving up too soon my actually cost your company far more in lost revenues, public outrage or shrinking market share. It requires a different way of thinking. Advertising and promoting your business is an investment in your business’ future. Investments are not mere costs. They come with a benefit. 


Let’s get one thing straight from the very beginning. No company ever dominated its industry by operating with a philosophy of fear. And, ultimately, no company can survive if it doesn’t learn to conquer its fear and take chances, make changes. 


It is the ability to see past any short-term problems to the bigger, long-term picture that has fueled the meteoric rise of the world’s most successful companies. Nobody knew what Apple was before its history making 1985 Super Bowl commercial. 


Apple paid to run that commercial only once, but it ran again hundreds of times around the country and the world during local and national news broadcasts. Stories about Apple and its commercial were front-page news for weeks.


When it comes to advertising, you might wonder what kinds of changes are needed. After all, it’s just advertising. If your ads look like your competitors’ ads, if your messages are strikingly similar, if you talk to yourself instead of your customers, if you worry more about your logo being large enough than the message being attention-getting enough, you need to change.


Now this is just the first step, so we won’t get into any more detail here. The object of this step is to let you know that you need to screw up your courage and prepare to make some changes in your advertising that will have a profound effect on your bottom line.


Fear is the greatest motivator. However, instead of motivating people to act, it usually causes people to freeze or retreat. It takes courage to make the kinds of changes that are needed to survive in today’s crowded, complicated and competitive business environment. 


Conquer your fear. Be courageous.• 


This article introduced the first of Jeff Berney's "Twelve Steps to Creating Breakthrough Advertising Campaigns: A creative philosophy to help companies recover from years of playing it safe." Challenge yourself, your staff and your advertising agency to make a revolutionary transformation of your advertising program. And, remember, even the largest revolution begins with just one step—the first.

Rabu, 18 Januari 2006

Be Imaginative



Be Imaginative

What’s the easiest way to kill a great ad campaign before it even begins? Take it too seriously. Advertising is not rocket science. You shouldn’t need a degree in the physical sciences to create or understand an ad. 


And you should never, ever, under any circumstances, kill an ad because it is not literal enough. On the contrary, if you find your ads are too literal, you should destroy them all and start fresh. 


Are Volkswagens flawed pieces of junk? No, but an ad with the headline “Lemon” gets your attention, doesn’t it? It makes you want to read the story, which goes on to explain how the particular car shown in the ad would never be driven because VW cares so much it weeds out the lemons so you never get a bad car. Think what an opportunity would have been missed if the folks at Volkswagen had taken that headline too literally.


Think about it from this angle. Why do people read an ad or watch a commercial? The majority do so because they find them entertaining and informative. If your ads are all information and no entertainment, you’ve wasted your budget. 


This is not to say that an ad should be created purely for entertainment purposes. Again, a great ad is both entertaining and informative. The entertainment value should be derived from a feature of your product or brand. In other words, what you’re selling should be the star of the show. Sounds simple enough, but it is often hard to strike the right balance. That’s what makes advertising so fun. 


How much information does your audience really need? What kind of story will they find entertaining? These are questions that should be asked and answered early on so that when you finally are presented with an ad or a campaign, you can judge the work according to these preordained guidelines.


A good campaign will reach your target audience and talk to them on a personal level. This has a valuable effect on your sales and reputation. A great advertising campaign will do more than that. It will create a buzz outside of your target audience.


Apple Computer’s “1984” commercial ran only once. But it is still one of the most talked about commercials because it was rebroadcast on every major news show and written about in every major newspaper for weeks and months. And none of this cost Apple anything more than a single TV buy.


It’s worth noting that Apple’s Super Bowl commercial helped make the company a household name and created unbelievable demand for the new Macintosh computer-yet the ad never showed the product or explained any details about it.


BMW’s Mini Cooper was one of the first cars to be introduced in the United States with no TV advertising. Blasphemy! Instead, they bolted the Minis to the roofs of SUVs and drove them around major cities. They created tongue-in-cheek billboards, interactive print ads and great guerrilla promotions. Most importantly, they created a waiting list of customers who couldn’t wait to get a Mini.


Companies that think bigger become bigger. It’s a self-fulfilling cycle. If you just think like a local operation, you might miss the opportunity to expand regionally, nationally, or even internationally. Your advertising campaign should reflect the direction of your company—even if you’re not yet there.


Challenge yourself and your agency to think bigger.• 


This article introduced the third of twelve steps. Challenge yourself, your staff and your advertising agency to revolutionize your ad program. If you missed a previous step, contact the author for a complimentary copy. And, remember, every revolution begins with just one step.